Sydney Soloists

Friday, 2 August 2019 at 8pm

Bernadette Harvey (piano). Andrew Haveron (violin), Tobias Brieder (viola), Umberto Clerici ('cello), Francesco Celata (clarinet), Ben Jacks (horn)

Tickets for this concert can be purchased in advance

Programme

MOZART – Divertimento for violin, viola and 'cello in E flat major, K. 563

BRAHMS – Trio for clarinet, 'cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114

DOHNANYI – Sextet for piano, violin, viola, 'cello, clarinet & horn in C major, Op. 37

About the Artists

The members of the Sydney Soloists have distinguished careers in orchestral, solo and ensemble performance. Many are principal performers in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber ensemble, they perform with passion, intelligence and masterful technique. 

Artistic Director Francesco Celata  described the special qualities of the group: "The core of the Sydney Soloists are orchestral players who know each other very well; we work together every week. Often we are joined by guest performers, whom we know well. So when we come together in a chamber group there is a natural rapport, a shared musical understanding and similar style. That familiarity is essential; it gives us a firm base, so that we can develop our ideas for the pieces we perform.  It is very satisfying to work as a group, all contributing ideas and working towards musical consensus and a beautiful performance."

Read more about the artists

Programme Notes

The Sydney Soloists' programme presents three unique masterworks that each explore  different and profound emotions of life. Mozart's lyrical divertimento for string trio expresses the joy and exuberance of life. Brahms' clarinet trio has a beautiful autumnal mood; sombre and dignified, it evokes feelings of tenderness and intimacy. Dohnanyi's septet is a late-Romantic work, grand in scope and heroic in spirit, but pulsating with the energy, vitality and unpredictability of twentieth century life.

MOZART -  Divertimento for violin, viola and 'cello in E-flat major , K 563

 Allegro / Adagio / Menuetto: Allegro / Andante / Menuetto: Allegettro / Allegro 

Mozart’s divertimento in E flat for string trio was written in summer 1788, shortly after the completion of his three last symphonies, for Michael Puchberg his merchant friend who often helped him out with money.  Mozart's use of the word "divertimento" to describe the work probably reflects its structure: two rapid outer movements and two slow movements alternating with two minuets.  This mature work is the only string trio that Mozart wrote and, while it is written for three instruments, has all the richness of a string quartet.

The first two bars of the opening allegro set the rather grave tone that permeates the first movement.  The beautiful second subject is unusual in that the viola plays the bass to the two-part harmonies expounded by the violin and ‘cello.  The following adagio, in contrast, seems introspective and provides a measure of concentrated emotion.  Happiness and good humour enter with the first menuetto, in which the repeats (as in Mozart’s symphonies) are varied and expansive.

The andante movement, which serves as a bridge between the two menuetti, opens with a wonderful theme played in octaves together by the violin and the viola, followed by four variations.  The first two brilliant variations, in the major, are suddenly contrasted by the short, third, variation in the minor.  The final variation returns to the major with sweeping, chorale-like, melody of the violin, accompanied by the warmth of the viola part.

The second menuetto envelopes two trio sections, the first being a Ländler – an Austrian peasant dance – and the second being rather like a courtly waltz.  The allegro finale is in rondo form, a joyful outburst that resolves some of the gravity of earlier movements.

                                                                                                                             M. C.

BRAHMS - Trio for clarinet, 'cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114

Allegro / Adagio / Andantino grazioso / Allegro

In 1890 Brahms stated his String Quintet in G major was his final work. However he had reckoned without the inspiration that his meeting with the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld would have on his creative imagination.  Inspired, he wrote the score of this Op 114 Clarinet Trio. At its first performance on December 12 1891 Mühlfeld played the clarinet and Brahms the piano.  A historical painter in the audience, Adolf Menzel, was so moved he made a sketch of Mühlfeld as some sort of Greek god, “a sublime vision of the Muse itself”.

The trio is one of the very few with this combination of instruments to have entered the standard repertoire. Brahms exploits the full range of the clarinet and manages to equitably integrate all three instruments throughout the work.

The cello commences the Allego movement with a rising theme that is continued by the clarinet. The theme is complemented in the second subject by predominantly falling intervals.  After a brief series of rapid scales the movement reaches its first climax and the scales feature in its following centre section.  The movement returns to the initial theme and, with the scales, it comes to a quiet close.

The clarinet begins the second movement with a flowing quiet melody of gently falling thirds and the cello is brought in with interplay between the two instruments.  A contrasting theme of gentle calmness emerges.  This transitions into related themes with interesting harmonic and rhythmic modulations before returning to the original melody

The cheerful yet quiet third movement is in a folk waltz style.  It moves into a related more animated trio section and then back to the opening theme which is followed by a tranquil coda.

The final movement, in rondo form, commences restlessly in a lively rhythm and incorporates quieter sections.  Extensive use is made of falling thirds and harmonic modulation. In contrast with the previous movements it comes to a robust close.

                                                                                                                              T. R.

DOHNANYI – Sextet for Piano, Violin, Viola, 'Cello, Clarinet & Horn in C Major, Op. 37

Programme notes for this work will be available nearer to the concert date.