Let's Get Personal - Review

Selby and Friends at Home

Selby and Friends at Home
Streaming Online. Playing to ticketed customers from May 2 – 10, 2020.

As a reaction to the closing down of arts venues by the coronavirus, pianist Kathryn Selby took one of her ‘Selby and Friends’ concerts to the screen. With violinist Andrew Haveron and cellist Umberto de Clerici, she presented three of the most loved Piano Trios in a concert recorded after only two day’s rehearsal at Sydney Grammar School.

Despite the difficulties of complying with social distancing, very clever camera work follows the music sensitively, close up shots of the musicians revealing their expressive joy in the music and the sustained energy that the pieces demand.

“Reaching out through music has always given comfort and solace - and elevated the soul”, Selby said of her decision to record the concert. “Being able to bring Selby & Friends concerts to music lovers in the safety of their homes was a satisfying goal, worth striving for… and well worth the challenge of overcoming technical hurdles. I am grateful to our loyal subscribers and my colleagues and friends in the industry for helping make this new initiative come to life!”

This reviewer is not a musician – and though I could rely on research to augment my review, I decided to write about what I heard in the music and saw revealed by musicians more closely than on a concert stage. Hence, expect language that describes feelings rather than expertise! Thought stream reactions if you like, possibly stemming from being at home alone watching and listening, rather than being constrained by the proximity of a larger, closer audience.

Mozart’s Piano Trio No 3B flat major exhibits the quirky complications one expects of his work: contrasting tempos, changing inflections, challenging changes in mood. Slower and more romantic moments show the contrasts in the instruments, especially the deeper voice of the cello as it converses with the lighter voices of the violin and the piano.

The third movement is faster, seemingly more intricate than those before it, a delicate motif that somehow allows itself to become more substantive and suggestive, sometimes even a little strident.