GLAMAdelaide Review Tour 5

Music Review: Selby & Friends: Three Shades of Melody

 

Selby
 Presented by Selby & Friends

Reviewed 03 November 2013

The only sad thing about spending an unhurried afternoon with Kathryn Selby (piano) and friends, Sophie Rowell (violin), and Julian Smiles (‘cello), is that it was the last chance to do so until next March.

The cleverly chosen program commenced with Joaquín Turina’s Circulo, Op.91(1936), introduced to us by the charming Smiles who chatted about the recurring concert he was about to perform, being a little like Groundhog Day. The implication that there was something of the nature of sameness about the show was quickly forgotten as the Turina opened.

Circulo, the final composition completed by Turina before outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, essays the progress of a single day; from dawn (Amanever), through midday (Mediodía), to dusk (Crepúsculo).

A breathtaking sunrise contrasted the dramatic pizzicato, thick with Andalucían influence that heralded the second movement. The third, with the shimmering afternoon heat of Turina’s native Seville, abated when the strings expertly sent the sun dipping below the horizon at the conclusion.

If all my days progressed with 10 similar minutes, what a happy life I would lead.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat major, Op. 1, number 1(1795), was composed when he was only 25. The substantive (in historical context) four movements were skilfully performed by the trio, who managed to convey elegance and good cheer amongst the, at times playful, melodic conversation.

Following interval, the large, appreciative crowd settled back for Antonin Dvořák’s Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 ‘Dumky’ (1891). Six “dumky” (thoughts) make up the piece, and there’s certainly plenty ‘o’ drama in them there dumky.

Smiles said of this, it “… is a work I always find profoundly moving to hear and play. It is full of simple beauty, surprises that take your breath away, and wild passion. It also features the cello strongly.”

Highlights amongst an ocean of highlights, were the ‘cello cantilena of the second dumka, and Rowell’s and Selby’s aspects of the dramatic and lively fifth dumka. The frenzied finale made for a gripping performance, leaving no doubt about the trio’s temporary immersion in Bohemia.

The trio successfully employed the seriously underutilised practice of holding position after playing the last note (end movement and piece), allowing Elder Hall to do exactly what it was designed for; carry sound. In doing this, the tone of the Steinway, JB Guadagnini and Lorenzo Ventapane, were sublime, both whilst the performers were playing, and also for those few precious moments afterwards.

Three Shades of Melody was a stunning concert from world-class musicians who complemented each other so well, it was difficult to think they united to perform these pieces only a handful of times.

This is exactly what chamber music is meant to be: intimate, conversational, captivating, the music of friends, and a thoroughly enjoyable, personal experience.

Kathryn Selby, with friends like these, we can’t wait for the 2014 season.

Reviewed by Gordon Forester

Venue: Elder Hall, North Terrace
Season: 03 November 2013
Duration: 2 hours
 

Photo: Kathryn Selby. Source: Selby and Friends website

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