It’s a question of philosophy with music by Haydn and Brett Dean’s dramatic oratorio, The Last Days of Socrates.
In this concert conducted by SSO Artist in Residence Brett Dean, philosophy is the main theme. It begins in the realm of pure fantasy with a Romantic story of enchantment, a mermaid and a broken promise. After that we enter the world of Classical reason with one of Haydn’s most fascinating symphonies. It’s unique for featuring a pair of cors anglais, and these gorgeously melancholy instruments debate with the horns, prompting the symphony’s nickname. But the highlight is Dean’s epic oratorio based on Plato’s account of the trial and death by hemlock of Socrates. Featuring Peter Coleman-Wright (who starred in Dean’s opera Bliss) with the chorus as his accusers, the oratorio takes on the character of a courtroom drama in music that’s emotional, colourful and direct.