Stephen Whittington, The Advertiser
May 23, 2017 5:11pm
Selby and Friends
LONG ago, before the advent of contemporary media, people actually entertained themselves. It’s hard to believe that a mere century or so ago, people spent hours in rewarding pastimes like playing music at home.
Transcriptions of music for this purpose were immensely popular and this concert by Selby and Friends was a fascinating exploration of a social phenomenon that is all but dead today.
Pianist Kathryn Selby was joined by two splendid string players, violinist Andrew Haveron and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, in a most enjoyable program that began with a contemporaneous transcription of ‘Papa’ Haydn’s 96th Symphony.
It would have been an unmixed delight if it hadn’t been for the amplified band playing on the lawns just outside Elder Hall. This was an unwelcome and surely avoidable intrusion that persisted through most of the first half.
Movements from Ravel’s piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin transferred surprisingly well to the piano trio format thanks to skilful work by arranger Matt van Brink. The performance beautifully balanced the transparent textures of this exquisitely tasteful and refined music.
But the big-ticket item on the program was Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, arranged by Carl Reinecke, who by coincidence was the first pianist to have his playing recorded commercially, thus ushering in the age of recording that killed off home music-making.
In any format, this concerto is a virtuoso work, and the three musicians revelled in the – sometimes unreasonable – demands made on them.