Monday, 1 October 2007

St. James Church, Sydney Symphony Fellowship

Wednesday 26 September 2007.

After a sushi lunch at sushi train Sosumi, we walked up to St. James for the fellowship concert.
The Sydney Symphony Fellowship is a training group for young artists who often play with the orchestra as well as work on projects of their own including chamber music concerts such as this one.

The first piece was Brahms’ String Quintet in G. Op. 111. The String players were joined by Roger Benedict, the artistic director of the program, as second viola. I was taken by surprise by the quintet, which had been there waiting all this time for me to find it. It was written in 1890, and my book says it was intended as a final work, a kind of musical farewell, though Brahms was drawn out of retirement to write further chamber works all including the clarinet. It is a marvellous piece with many very characteristic features, an echo of the double concerto and yet another gypsy inspired final movement. I thought I heard some Elgar like sounds and was pleased to see my book suggests Elgar was influence by this work.

The second piece was described as a Clarinet Quintet by Penicka. Martin Penicka is the fellowship cellist and I assumed he was a composer as well. Not so, as he pointed out in his introduction. The clarinet quintet was written by his father, Miroslav Penicka , who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1935 , studied music there and migrated to Australia in 1964. It was an attractive and tuneful work; I thought the clarinet was more part of the ensemble than the solo instrument it can be in the more familiar clarinet quintets.

It was an hour of unexpected delights and there was time to buy the Naxos CD of the Brahms string quintets before catching the bus home.

My book: Brahms by Malcolm Macdonald ( Master Musicians Series).

Miroslav Penicka

Brahms, String Quintets Nos. 1 and 2 Ludwig Quartet and Bruno Pasquier. NAXOS

1 comment:

Mildred said...

Keep up the good work.