Tour 4 Adelaide Review

by Peter Burdon

Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, Sunday September 14

Selby and Friends was just a single Friend on the latest Adelaide visit, in the person of Swedish cellist Torleif Thedéen – and what a good friend to have.

Beethoven’s early Sonata for Cello and Piano in g minor is a monumental piece to begin a recital and certainly got the audience “in the zone” for the challenging new work to follow.

This was the world premiere of Paul Dean’s Three Intimate Interludes, a Selby and Friends audience commission, and it’s an impressive work. In three movements with the titles Conflict, Dissection and Isolation, Dean admits that the piece was composed at a tumultuous time in his life, and this comes tearing through. The turmoil in Conflict, the two instruments often surging along together but sometimes, tellingly, wide apart. A wailing plant from the cello in Dissection while the piano protests furiously in the background, and the long and poignant cello solo that dominates Isolation, this was a terrific piece. Debussy’s Cello Sonata in d minor came as a real tonic after such drama.

Thedéen gave an unprogrammed tribute to the late Peter Sculthorpe with the first movement of the 1979 Requiem for solo cello, and shone brightly in Grieg’s mammoth Cello Sonata in a minor, especially in the flashy finale with its lightening runs and technical challenges for cellist and pianist alike.

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