Tormented Souls

Modern work draws the greatest ovation

Stephen Whittington
Adelaide advertiser

TRIOS by Beethoven and Schumann certainly pleased the audience, but it was - perhaps surprisingly - a modern work that drew the greatest ovation.

Maybe that was because it was Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, probably the most singular work in the entire chamber music repertoire.

It’s hard to explain how a work shrouded in arcane mysticism and theology, utterly unconventional in form and instrumentation, became an iconic work of the 20th century.

This magnificent performance by pianist Kathy Selby, with Natalie Chee (violin), Julian Smiles (cello) and Lloyd van’t Hoff (clarinet) left little doubt about its greatness.

The rapturous intensity reached in the movements for cello and piano, and violin and piano, was mesmerising.

The solo clarinet movement was like staring into an abyss, with Lloyd van’t Hoff showing remarkable control of tone and dynamics, down to a barely audible pianissimo.

Kathy Selby was superb in providing a rainbow aura of harmonic colours that enveloped the other players.

This was a spiritual journey of great power and beauty, one of the best performances I can recall of this unique piece.

Selby and friends

Elder Hall

August 26

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