By PETER BURDON
Selby and Friends: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Romantics
Elder Hall – July 1
Three titans of chamber music, composers and performers alike, in Selby and Friends A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Romantics. The composers being Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schubert, the performers Kathryn Selby and Sydney Symphony leaders Andrew Haveron (concertmaster) and Umberto Clerici (principal cello). A potent mix.
Mendelssohn’s Violin Sonata in F major (1838) is infrequently performed, more’s the pity. Unknown until its recovery by Yehudi Menuhin (no less) in the 1950s, it provides a fascinating glimpse into Mendelssohn’s mature style (mature at 29, given he died aged 38) and it’s a mystery that he found the work unworthy of publication. The dazzling passagework for the violin in the outer movements is especially exciting, and was executed by Haveron with deft aplomb.
With two outstanding friends, it was good, then, to also feature the cello, and the performance of Brahms’s fine Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major was a triumph. From the ebb and flow of the opening Allegro vivace to the tempestuous Allegro passionate, Clerici gave a highly intelligent account, with the reprise of the opening theme in the finale especially well thought out. In both sonatas, Selby was a model of restraint.
All bets were off, however, for Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat in which all three players had their moments. Not just friends, but family, it was a highly successful collaboration. The famous Andante was sublime.