28th July, 2018 | Media Releases

Media Release: March 2018

Pure Alchemy

Selby & Friends reunites Finnish virtuosi Vesa-Matti Leppänen and Timo-Veikko Valve


Vesa-Matti Leppänen – Violin | Timo-Veikko Valve – Cello | Kathryn Selby – Piano

▪          Robert Schumann/Theodor Kirchner Sechs Stücke in kanonischer Form, Op. 56 (Six Studies in Canonic Style)

▪          Anton Arensky Piano Trio No. 2 in F minor, Op. 73

▪          Johannes Brahms Trio for violin, violoncello and piano (after the Sextet in B-flat major, Op. 18)

Defined as “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination”, Alchemy seems just the right way to describe this fascinating program of works presented by three incomparable performers.

For the first time in five years, two master Finnish musicians reunite with Kathryn Selby AM to perform

chamber music at its best with Selby & Friends. Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, joins ACO Principal Cellist Timo-Veikko Valve and pianist Selby for a six-concert Alchemy tour, with music by Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Anton Arensky.

Bold melodic lines and innovative musical layering are the calling cards of this program, embracing classical works seldom heard together in a single concert. Robert Schumann’s original keyboard studies in the form of canon (“Sechs Stücke in kanonischer Form”) were the basis for this piano trio version by his friend Theodor Kirchner. Unmistakably a product of Schumann’s creativity, the rich melodic fabric was given a second life in Kirchner’s reworking – with Schumann’s blessing.

Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 2 is a gem glistening with the composer’s unique textures weaving many musical thoughts into one. Lilting waltz tempos, rustic dance rhythms, theme and variations, canon, and a string duet not unlike those heard in turn-of-the-century Russian salons flourish in this garden of delights.

The Brahms String Sextet in B-flat major, Op. 18, published in 1862, made its way into 20th-century popular culture as soundtrack music in big- and small-screen features ranging from Louis Malle’s “The Lovers” to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Fortunately, modern audiences often still hear this masterpiece in the concert hall – here in its more rarely-performed piano trio version arranged by Brahms’s friend and fellow composer Theodor Kirchner. Gorgeous melodies are coupled with a spacious sense of proportion – rendered in this concert by a piano trio of the highest artistic level.

Of the Leppänen/Valve/Selby ensemble’s 2013 Selby & Friends performance, the Sydney Morning Herald reviewer wrote: “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… 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.”

Says Selby, “I’m thrilled to be welcoming back two of my favourite colleagues with this special program. Witty, knowledgeable and charming, my two Finnish friends are brilliant artists whose infectious artistry always makes for a stunning tour.”

Artistic Director Kathryn Selby AM is Australia’s pre-eminent award-winning chamber music pianist. The founder of Selby & Friends, she presents concerts of consistently exceptional quality with a rotating guest ensemble of some of the most illustrious musicians on the Australian chamber music scene. Selby & Friends celebrates its 12th season in 2018.

Tickets are on sale now via the website or by calling 1300 511 099.

This second tour 2018, titled Alchemy, performs the following dates and venues:

Saturday, April 28 – 5:00pm, Mittagong Playhouse, Southern Highlands

Sunday, April 29 – 2:15pm, Turramurra Uniting Church, Turramurra

Tuesday, May 1 – 7:30pm, Fairfax Theatre, NGA, Canberra

Wednesday, May 2 – 7:30pm, Tatoulis Auditorium, Methodist Ladies’ College, Kew, Melbourne

Sunday, May 6 – 2:30pm, Elder Hall, Adelaide

Monday, May 7 – 7:00pm, City Recital Hall, Sydney

Media Contact:  Caroline Ryvers – 0481 080 285    ** Hi-res images available



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