Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Plenary Hall, February 9

LAUNCHING the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's brass and percussion into Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, conductor Ben Foster offered a grandiose scene-setting for an event centred around two plasticine animated characters. But it focused attention for a moderately enjoyable family concert that eventually came good with a screening of the Wallace & Gromit short film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, the MSO performing Julian Nott's busy score.

While Friday night's Musical Marvels program was cancelled due to poor bookings, Saturday morning still found a sizeable number of senior and junior patrons enjoying Foster's badinage and a cleanly accomplished mix of live orchestral performance and film.

MSO veteran Peter Edwards negotiated Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre and Monti's flashy Csardas with ease and then partnered Gromit in a double violin concerto that replaced the scheduled Concerto in Ee, Lad due to the total destruction of composer-performer Wallace's piano. This contributed to a substantial first half. The 29-minute film proved more satisfactory, giving us a sustained look at Wallace and Gromit's quirky, heart-warming world.