[20060094] Leningrad Symphony

Leningrad Symphony

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra @ Festival Theatre

8:00pm, Sun 19 Mar 2006

And so to the end of the Festival. I sat in one of the Festival Theatre’s coffee venues in my “fuck the norm” orange board shorts, chatting to various people and watching the suits and evening gowns roll up for the traditional closing event. Proud, happy, and sneering, as is my wont. Still, our seats – at the front edge of the dress circle – were fabulous, allowing a wonderful elevated view of the ASO and the video screens behind them.

Ah yes, the video screens. Much had been written about the multimedia nature of this performance, with visual “performer” Tim Gruchy receiving second billing behind the ASO’s conductor, Arvo Volmer. Gruchy – apparently – created live visuals during the performance, projected onto three huge screens.


The music was absolutely wonderful, especially the first movement – building from tiny violin plucks, gently adding in more string plucking & snare drum, gradually buidling to a huge military-esque crescendo. Fantastic stuff throughout.

As for the vaunted video – it was distracting and far from beautiful. Red and black swirls, superimposed on maps, dissolving to reveal skulls and swastika… topical to the piece in content, maybe, but certainly not feel. Instinctively, the bitter rabble-rouser in me would say “the performance would have been better off without it”; time appears to temper anger, however, and it was easy enough to ignore the screens at the time. Just stop talking this VJ bollocks up, please… unless you can do it right.

Despite the dodgy visuals, there was a great finish – to both the Symphony, the Festival, and FF2006. We walked home happy, anyway, high on musical delight and giggling at some of the ludicrous images used.

Ah, maybe that was the point.

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