Showcasing a master with joyful energy

The Age
May 15, 2014
by Martin Duffy

Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Wednesday May 14

Mid-way through their tour of southern states, pianist Kathryn Selby was joined by her latest musical friends – ex-pat violinist Susie Park and Australian Chamber Orchestra principal cellist Timo-Veikko Valve – for Basically Beethoven.
Written before he was 20 but only published posthumously, the Piano Trio in E flat major, WoO 38, already shows the beginning of Beethoven flexing against established conventions. Although a vehicle to feature the piano, Selby seemed disinclined to cede any of the advantage of her instrument. Her marvellously clear tone too often overpowered her associates, especially in the opening movement.

Sonatas for both violin and cello gave both guests the opportunity to demonstrate some exceptional playing, particularly in the moving intensity of their respective slow movements.
Park’s limpid exposition of the opening theme of the Spring Sonata for Piano and Violin in F major, Op 24, was exquisite, and beautifully answered by Selby. Even better was the equal partnership of Valve and Selby in the Sonata for Cello and Piano in D major, Op 102, No 2. Valve showed masterly control of the bow, sensitively modulated vibrato and matched the grist of Selby’s attack.

In a final movement fugue that looks ahead to some of Beethoven’s later great works, Selby’s clarity of touch and terrifically spare pedalling produced impressively clear individual lines.
Selby’s dynamic pianism and consistent approach to articulation also set the tone for the Piano Trio in E Flat Op 70, No 2. Balance and ensemble were excellent in a reading brimming with joyful energy.

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