2MBS FM The Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra – CONCERT REVIEW Mike Smith The Australian International Conservatorium of Music, Victoria Road, Rozelle – 12th Sept 2009 The Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra describes itself as ‘The Most Vibrant New Sound in Orchestral Music’, and judging by the sheer energy and spirit of this performance this self-appointed accolade seems most appropriate. Under the strict and inspirational influence of their highly-talented and charismatic conductor, Sarah-Grace Williams, the orchestra re-invigorated some of the well-trodden paths of the musical repertoire, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Mozart’s G minor Symphony (no.40). The Coriolan opens with tightly-coiled tension that only achieves its resolution in the closing triumphant bars. The shouts from the orchestra were assured, crisp and assertive, a portent of things to come. This was strong, impassioned playing, just as Beethoven himself would have approved. The Mozart symphony was a most refreshing account in which the orchestra sections achieved independence and cohesion, and a colouring of the textures that is Mozart’s speciality. I thought I already knew this work well, but it came alive with new insights; the tempi were exhilarating and the ensemble playing beautifully balanced. Sandwiched between these two works was Prokofiev’s ‘Classical’ Symphony, a ‘twentieth century symphony Haydn might have written’ (had he been born 100 years later!). This work relies on an energetic and almost eccentric style of playing with cheeky humour and impish interplay between the sections and the vitality and coruscating nature of the musicianship kept the listener alert and (importantly) involved. I look forward with eager anticipation to the next performance of this fine ensemble on October 31st.