Jaime Martín conducts the opening concert of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2023 season. Photo by Laura Manariti.

“The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra commenced its 2023 season with a gala concert in Hamer Hall,” Peter Tregear writes in Sunday’s (2/26) Limelight (Australia). The concert featured “a new commission from Mary Finsterer and a homecoming showcase for Victorian-born soprano Siobhan Stagg, the MSO’s current Artist-in-Residence. Titled ‘MYSTERIUM I,’ Finsterer’s curtain-raiser is planned to be part of a larger orchestral work exploring poetic and musical themes drawn from the Latin responsory O magnum mysterium (O great mystery)…. By the 16th century the text had become a favorite of later composers … It is these later settings that the composer acknowledges as having provided … her work’s foundational source material. Once refracted through modern orchestral techniques and sensibilities, however, that material is heard as a ghostly echo … We are presented with slowly shifting pillars of chords and repeating bass lines … Finsterer’s work evidently seeks from its audience a more static, meditative kind of listening … This is a well-crafted symphonic statement that was also well-played by the MSO under chief conductor Jaime Martín, and well-received by the large crowd.” Also on the program were Strauss’s “Four Last Songs” with Siobhan Stagg and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.