Australia Piano Quartet
17 June 2018 2pm
A TOUR DE FORCE FROM THE AUSTRALIA PIANO QUARTET.
Yass Music Club members were treated to a program of superbly played music from the Australia Piano Quartet in the Memorial Hall on Sunday, 17th June.
In this outstanding concert, generously sponsored by the Shaw Vineyards of Murrumbateman, we heard Peter Sculthorpe’s “Landscapes II” followed by a delightful early Mozart quartet and concluding with the magnificent Sergei Taneyev Piano Quartet from the quartet consisting of Kristian Winter (violin), James Wannan (viola), Tom Rann (cello) and Daniel de Borah on the piano and they were in magnificent form for the occasion.
The Sculthorpe piece is a challenging one, as we sought to find the concord of his discords, but its purpose was never lost on us as he gave us images of indigenous Australia and also reflected strains of the Buddhist culture against the sounds of the natural world with suggestions of wildlife in the cries of native birds and insects. These effects were significantly achieved by the unique use of the piano from Daniel, with the strings plucked and glided on, and with not a single note coming from the keyboard.
The harmonies of the early Mozart Quartet was a perfect piece to juxtapose against the discordancy of the Sculthorpe and we revelled in the scintillating grace and joy of this youthful piece and each of the artists used their opportunities to present the music in concert as well as what they had to show in their individual moments.
There was an excellent afternoon tea provided at interval by Thyme to Taste and the raffle of two CDs was won by Esme.
The magnificent Piano Quartet in E major Opus 20 by Sergei Taneyev occupied the whole of the second half of the program having three substantial movements and lasting for around forty minutes.
The forty minutes flew by, however, as the quartet set about the task of its presentation from the stunning first movement with the outburst of colourful sound and, with the impact of the music, which was almost orchestral, produced against the delightful more intimate chamber moments.
The short second movement was full of sweet and memorable references, with a suggestion of sadness from the cello, and it was again the scope of the movement where one could almost believe that it was a piano concerto that we were hearing.
The third movement was huge in its richness with great moments of high renown set against the sweet intimacy of the quartet as it entertained with its nuances and ebbs and flows and it has been suggested that it almost becomes just music for a string trio and a piano.
Throughout Taneyev shows his mastery of melody and counterpoint as he directs and extends the ensemble in its richly chamber music format.
The concert was a unique and rich experience from the Australia Piano Quartet for an audience delighted by its choice of pieces and their flawless performance.
The Music Club’s next Winter Sunday afternoon fixture on 12th August will feature the glorious soprano Greta Bradman in concert.
Brian Millett. 20/6/18.
“…Rarely have I been so impressed by a new ensemble. A combination of formidable pedigree of training, flawless technique, impressive musical intelligence, profound sensitivity and performance élan leads me to draw the analogy of there being evidence here of the ingredients of a true vintage wine which can only get better with age.”
– David Barmby, Arts Hub December 2015
The Australia Piano Quartet (APQ) has been Ensemble in Residence at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since 2012. Their busy performance schedule includes a series presented by the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre, as well as international tours throughout Europe and Asia. Following a successful debut at London’s Barbican Centre in 2015, APQ returned to the UK in 2016 for performances at Wigmore Hall and Oxford’s Holywell Room and also toured China and France.
In addition to their exploration of canonic masterpieces of the piano quartet repertoire, the ensemble are committed to unearthing neglected works of past and present, while championing the creation of new work. To date they have commissioned over 20 new piano quartets from a diverse range of established and emerging Australian composers, including Elliott Gyger, Elena Kats-Chernin, Jack Symonds, Paul Dean and William Barton.
As Ensemble in Residence at UTS, APQ actively collaborates across multiple disciplines and engages in a uniquely innovative dialogue with the wider community of students, academic staff, guest artists and the general public. A highlight of the residency in 2016 will be a new composition created with inventor Jordan Nguyen, which enables individuals with high-level disability to perform with APQ using cutting-edge technology. APQ will also further expand its existing education and outreach programs, encompassing mentoring of talented young instrumentalists and workshops and performances in association with the Australian Centre for Childhood and Youth. The Australia Piano Quartet is very grateful to Kawai Australia for their generous support of the UTS Series.
APQ’s performances have been broadcast on Foxtel Arts (2015 Helpmann Awards), ABC Classic FM and BBC Radio 3. In 2017, the ensemble will release their first disc, Mozart’s complete works for piano quartet.