Selby and Friends – Just ‘C’

Selby and friends delight with works from nineteenth and twentieth century masters.
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Pictured: cellist Clancy Newman

Four exciting works for piano trio in the tonality of C were presented during this year’s second Selby and Friends concert, titled Just ‘C’ at Sydney’s City Recital Hall, Angel Place. In a balanced event mixing musical styles, works from Romantic period masters Brahms and Mendelssohn followed two trios by twentieth-century luminaries Shostakovich and Copland.

Joining Kathryn Selby to perform this satisfying program were violinist Susie Park and cellist Clancy Newman. The successful blend and closeness Selby achieves with her trio performers despite them being guests and not a permanent ensemble is always to be greatly admired. The display of fine ensemble empathy and group communication throughout the Tour 2 concert was no exception..

The opening single movement work, Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No 1 in C minor Op 8 (1923), immediately illustrated the results of fine listening and the careful handling of musical lines in individual parts and across the group.

Clancy Newman’s profound skill as a chamber musician was immediately evident in his strong communication with his fellow string player and the piano part at all times. Newman’s captivating stillness during moments of silence effectively punctuated this work’s sectional structure.

Much drama and atmosphere emanated from the trio as it developed the opening motive with great respect to Shostakovich’s emotional concerns. Starting each half of the program with a relatively modern work then looking back to a Romantic master was a rewarding juxtaposition each time as innovation preceded works in a more established structure.

Brahms’ four movement work, the Piano Trio No 2 in C major Op 87 (1882) followed, unfolding with superb contrast of colour and character. The intimate and expansive moments of Brahms’ structure and fine catering to this chamber music genre were well displayed by this trio.

Following interval and an enjoyable introductory talk by Clancy Newman, we heard Aaron Copland’s Vitebsk-Study on a Jewish Theme (1928). The audience was prepared for this, the most avant-garde work on the program by Newman’s description of the play which inspired the work’s drama and some elaboration on the musical techniques to be heard.

Susie Park and Clancy Newman embraced the out of tune declamatory stopping sections at the beginning of this work. They played with great energy and super-precise unisons. The audience was on an incredible journey here. The cello’s lyricism in the development if the Jewish theme was beautifully graded.

The concluding trio in the program, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 2 in C minor Op 66 (1845) was pure Romantic chamber music fare. The rhythmic complexities of rising motifs in all instruments was began the opening movement with great momentum.

Kathryn Selby’s formidable contribution at the keyboard during this concert was particularly fine in this Mendelssohn performance with a superb delivery of filigree around the other instrumental parts. The poignant slow movement was clearly led by her and was a gorgeous moment before the work hurtled towards the bravura of the later movements.

Kathryn Selby is joined by violinist Nikki Chooi and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve from June 12-19 for the next tour program, Musical Offering. This program will feature trio music by Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Julian Yu.

Just ‘C’
Selby and Friends

Kathryn Selby, Piano
Susie Park, Violin
Clancy Newman, Cello
Aaron Copland ‘Vitebsk – Study on a Jewish Theme’ (1928)
Johannes Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C major, Op. 87
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8
Felix Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66

City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
14 April

Paul Nolan
About the Author
Paul Nolan is a classically trained pianist. He studied at UNSW and graduated with a Bachelor of Music.
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