Tour 3 "Finn string finesse" SMH

Finn string finesse

Date - July 7, 2013 - 2:45PM

Harriet Cunningham

Sydney Morning Herald

Cellist Timo-Veikko Valve and violinist Vesa-Matti Leppanen cast a spell.

Reviewer rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Selby and Friends
City Recital Hall, July 4

First Opera Australia announces a new conductor for its Ring Cycle, the 33-year old Pietari Inkinen, a graduate of the Sibelius Academy.

Then Kathryn Selby presents cellist Timo-Veikko Valve and violinist Vesa-Matti Leppänen. The Finns are taking over. And from the evidence of this performance, it is consummation devoutly to be wished for.

Vesa-Matti Leppänen is concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and a fine addition to Selby’s circle of friends. He slots neatly into the already successful combination of Selby and Valve to make an ensemble which would be hard to beat.

Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 (1845) sets out with serious, but not tragic, purpose. The trio grappled with the hairy, restless first movement with stern but patient commitment, taming the wild energy, and the fiendish piano part, to create something strange and beautiful.

After a noble Andante, they took the Scherzo at such a breakneck speed that there were almost too many notes for the human brain to compute. Amazingly, it all fitted together, breathless but perfect in its detail.

They gave the finale, marked appassionato, a rare clarity, a passion tempered by precision. As the Lutheran chorale emerged from the melee these three musicians somehow managed to tap into Mendelssohn’s deep feeling for what had gone before: a century of music rolled into one movement.

This is why we go to live performance, for moments like these.

So to Brahms and his Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8.  Again, the key to this performance was its balance of elements: clarity making sense of the sweeping romantic gestures, individual character shining through the fine-honed ensemble.

It is a measure of the spell cast by these performers that the transition from second to third movement, and from third to fourth, passed with scarcely a noise from the auditorium; just the sound of 1000 people holding their breaths.

This is chamber music at its best. Hear them if you can.

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