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The Age: Czech Connection - Czech mates reward audience

Selby and Friends review: Czech mates reward audience with playful program


Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square
June 3 - Martin Duffy


The place of Dvorak and Martinu in a program titled Czech Connection is easy to comprehend. However, the inclusion of Schubert and Mendelssohn is less intuitive.

Highlighting Prague's importance as a musical centre across the centuries, pianist Kathryn Selby managed to find a thread to unite these composers. Her loyal audience is rewarded with thoughtful programming and a changing roster of superb chamber music partners. Joining Selby were Sydney Symphony concertmaster Andrew Haveron​ and the Australian Chamber Orchestra's principal cellist, Timo-Veikko Valve. 


The performance began with the limpid fluidity of Schubert's Nottorno in E flat Major, Opus 148 D 897. Selby's rippling opening arpeggios established a serenity that was avidly taken up by the two strings moving in perfect unison and balance, before the mood shifted to a more determined triumphalism in the work's contrasting central section. Recalling the best of the music to his A Midsummer Night's Dream, the inner movements of Mendelssohn's Trio in D minor, Op 49 were delightfully playful in nature and enlivened by Selby's clear articulations. 


Valve and Haveron's performance of Martinu's Duo No 1 for Violin and Cello was a particular highlight. Their marvellous synergy made sense of the opening's close chromaticism before each produced a virtuosic display in their respective extended cadenzas.

The trio delivered a riveting performance of Dvorak's Piano Trio No 3 in F minor, Op 65, notable for their ardent approach to the glorious sweeps of its volatile emotions, the rhythmic juxtaposing of the second movement, and their slow movement dialogues.


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