The results are in for the Repertoire Safety Index for 2011 (including the SSO, which finally made a copy of its 2011 program available to download in pdf format). No surprises in terms of who has the highest score – the ACO weighs in at 6.0, well out in front of the second place, which is the ASO on 4.2.
One thing which shouldn’t have surprised but did was the result for the MSO. After reading Melbourne-based music writer Eamonn Kelly’s drivel concerning the need for the ASO to offer a “safer” repertoire to keep its older audiences interested, I had a quick look at the MSO 2011 program, and was a bit confused about how a program offering so much Mozart and Tchaikovsky could be deemed to be “adventurous”. Hence the birth of the repertoire safety index, in an effort to put some objectivity around the issue of which orchestral programs are safer than others….and this what we got for 2011:
it’s worth noting that the “adventurous” MSO did manage a podium finish, sneaking into 3rd place. They do boast one very high scoring concert (featuring Tippett, Vaughan Williams and Walton, scoring 7.3) but this is offset by a lot of very safe concerts scoring in the 2s and 3s, and one which scores zero (an all Mozart affair). In contrast there’s only one ACO concert with a score below 4 (Schubert, Bach, Stravinsky and Webern, at 3.5), with almost everything in the 6s and 7s.
Just for the record, although the QSO trails the field with a score of just 3.0, it also offers one of the most adventurous individual concerts of the year,with a program of Gershwin, Gulda and Prokofiev, scoring 8.0.
One aspect of this that needs more thought is the result for the Sydney Symphony. More on this later.