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Wednesday 13 / Thursday 14 April 2022

Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music, Acton, 7.30pm

Fabian Russell Conductor
Courtenay Cleary Violin
Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Richard Wagner
Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Margaret Sutherland AO, OBE
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Bernard Herrmann
Suite from Vertigo

Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 5 in D major, op. 107 ‘Reformation’

Adult $54–101
Concession $48–89
Under 30 $30
Student rush $15

Llewellyn Hall family packages available – call CSO Direct on 02 6262 6772 (weekdays 10am – 3pm).

Book any two 2022 concerts together to enjoy subscriber benefit: save up to 25 per cent across the season and enjoy two flexible ticket swaps. Learn more


We begin with one of the most blazingly original harmonic ideas in the history of Western classical music: the ‘Tristan’ chord, the standard-bearer for a season dedicated to musical vision. Brimming with tension and dissonance, it sounds the opening of Richard Wagner’s ‘music-drama’, Tristan und Isolde, before surrendering to what feels like an eternity of silence, leaving the listener with no idea what comes next.

There’s something spiritual and transcendent in the love Tristan and Isolde share, a kind of redemption born not of lust but of a strange, mystical journey approaching otherworldly transfiguration. This is music of tantalising expectation, epitomised in the Liebestod (Love-Death), their final moment of yearning ecstasy.

So full of ambiguity and expectation, Wagner’s Tristan chord influenced all the composers who followed him. We hear the echoes a century later in Bernard Herrman’s Vertigo, the soundtrack to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful psycho-thriller. As in Tristan, the score is central to the drama: psychological, mysterious, lingering and suspenseful.

In Margaret Sutherland, we discover musical innovation akin to Wagner’s, albeit expressed in a very different cultural context. One of the most influential Australian voices of the twentieth century, her violin concerto is an ingenious blend of lyrical Romanticism and the modernist, post-Stravinsky sound world she inhabited.

The influential German composer Felix Mendelssohn blurs the lines between the sacred and the symphonic in his Fifth, referencing the solemn, six-note motif of the ‘Dresden Amen’, an allusion Wagner later imitated in his Parsifal opera, despite his distaste for Mendelssohn.

The ‘Reformation’ Symphony also draws on Martin Luther’s ‘Ein feste Burg is unser Gott’ (A mighty fortress is our God), penned as the Augsburg Confession was in session. A commemoration of that momentous chapter in the Lutheran tradition, Mendelssohn’s symphony resonates well beyond its historical context with a message of joy and universal humanness.



When to arrive
Doors to Llewellyn Hall will open at 6.15pm. The pre-concert conversation will run from 6.30pm to 7pm (approx.), with the concert commencing at 7.30pmPlease allow sufficient time for parking.

Box Office
The Box Office in the ground floor Athenaeum will be open from 6pm for ticket purchase and collection. The Box Office is card only (no cash). 

FM radio assisted hearing units are available in Llewellyn Hall. To reserve a unit, call CSO Direct at least 24 hours in advance on 02 6262 6772 (weekdays 10am – 3pm). Hearing units can be collected from the Box Office in the ground floor Athenaeum 

For information about wheelchair seating and other accessibility requirements, call CSO Direct or enquire directly with Llewellyn Hall.

Cloaking is not available at this time. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Free after-hours parking is available in front of the ANU School of Music, behind the ANU School of Art and in the Baldessin multi-storey carpark off Childers Street.

Atticus Coffee (Level 5, ANU School of Music) and the Athenaeum bar will be open pre-concert and at interval. The bar will accept card only (no cash).

Pre-concert conversation
6.30pm–7pm, Llewellyn Hall (free entry)
Concertgoers are invited to attend a free, pre-concert conversation between Melbourne-based author Dr Jillian Graham and Robyn Holmes, CSO Board Director. Dr Graham will provide insight into the life and impact of Margaret Sutherland, Australian composer and music activist. Dr Graham’s biography of Sutherland’s life is to be published by Melbourne University Publishing. 

There will be a 20-minute interval from 8.30pm to 8.50pm (approx.).

Concert programs
Program notes and artist profiles for this concert are included in the fifth edition of rest, the CSO concert magazine. Complimentary copies will be available at the concert. If you collected a copy at Chamber Classics: French Connections (13 Feb) or Australian Series: Stargazers (7 Apr), we encourage you to bring it along.

Program notes are also available online.

Running order
6.00pm – Box Office opens
6.15pm – Doors to Llewellyn Hall open
6.30pm  Pre-concert conversation begins
7.00pm – Pre-concert conversation concludes (approx. timing)
7.30pm  Concert commences
8.30pm  Interval (approx. timing)
9.45pm – Concert concludes (approx. timing)


Part of the CSO’s 2022 Llewellyn Series

The mainstage is our epicentre, where a hundred voices move as one to delight, inspire, soothe and uplift. Join us with open hearts for the big human stories: revolution, loss, redemption and connection.

Also in this series:

Llewellyn Two: Miracles in the Age of Reason (18 / 19 May 2022)
Llewellyn Three: War and Peace (14 / 15 September 2022)
Llewellyn Four: Infinite Possibilities (23 / 24 November 2022)

All CSO events are delivered in line with ACT Government COVID-safe requirements. Read more