By Arrangement - Wentworth Courier

Selby & Friends show three’s crowd enough for downsized orchestral works

Steve Moffatt, Wentworth Courier
May 25, 2017 5:14pm

AN unusual program of three major orchestral works downsized to piano trio form for domestic consumption made for an entertaining evening when violinist Andrew Haveron and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve joined pianist Kathryn Selby for the latest Selby & Friends tour.

Haveron and Valve are more usually seen performing in orchestras — the violinist as Sydney Symphony’s concertmaster and the Finn as principal cello with the ACO — and as Selby said in her introduction to Haydn’s “Miracle” Symphony the audience would need to imagine that the larger forces had taken the night off.

The symphony — Haydn’s 96th and the fourth in a set of 12 he composed in London — got its name erroneously after the audience escaped injury when a chandelier fell from the ceiling at a premiere in Hanover Square Rooms, London. This apparently happened at the performance of his Symphony No. 102.

Be that as it may, the German impresario and composer Johann Peter Salomon, who had arranged Haydn’s London visit, transcribed the set of 12 symphonies for piano trio so that amateur musicians could “have a jam session” at home, in Selby’s words.

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While the quick outer movements did feel a little thin at times, the powerful adagio and elegant menuetto worked well.

Haveron introduced the second work, Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin which started as a piano solo work and was later orchestrated by the composer, saying that the strings took on the roles of the cor anglais and harps to add colour to the piano part.

“The thing that really matters though, is, does it sound like a piano trio?” He said he’d leave it to the audience to decide: a resounding “yes” from this listener and in no small way due to American composer Matt van Brink’s clever and sensitive 2006 arrangement.

This is a transcription that deserves wider recognition.

Equally impressive in its stripped down form was Carl Reinecke’s 1867 arrangement of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, which found all the instruments rotating the tutti orchestral duties throughout the three glorious movements.

“Tipi” Valve was magnificent, admirably supported by his two colleagues. Composed when Beethoven was at the height of his “heroic” phase, these glorious and majestic melodies lost little in translation to trio form and set a triumphant seal on a splendid and unusual concert.

It is repeated at Turramurra Uniting Church, Turramurra, on Sunday, May 28, at 2.30pm.

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