Adelaide Festival. Musica Viva Australia. Adelaide Town Hall. 2 Mar 2021
Presented as part of the Adelaide Festival, Musica Viva’s first tour of 2021 features the celebrated Streeton Trio (Emma Jardine, violin, Umberto Clerici, cello, and Benjamin Kopp, piano) in concert with the phenomenal Diana Doherty (oboe).
The programme also features a world première performance of a new composition. Before tonight, the art music repertoire for this particular combination of instruments was very limited – a handful of pieces – and so to have a brand new composition (and by an Australian composer to boot!) is indeed a special event.
The Streetons and Doherty are all based in Sydney. They are acclaimed around the world and are part of the musical elite.
The programme begins with Bohuslav Martinů’s 1947 composition Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Piano. Martinů is infrequently heard in the concert hall and his compositions are characterised by short melodic and rhythmic motifs that are ‘mined’ for additional musical material. The Streetons ensure that the quartet’s motifs are clearly stated and unmistakeably heard again as they re-appear in various guises.
Composed about one hundred and ten years earlier, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No.1 in D minor is an entirely different proposition. The melodies are expansive, and the thematic and rhythmic structures are more emphatically stated and carefully developed. There is potential for the dense score to come across as leaden but the Streetons ensure the piece retains luminosity and lightness even in the fortissimo passages.
The highlight of the evening is the world première of Skipworth’s Oboe Quartet. It is scored in three movements – allegro moderato, misterioso molto rubato, and allegretto giocosa – and was commissioned for Musica Viva Australia in memory of Anne and Alan Blanckensee, by their son Andrew, family and friends. The work is intensely melody driven, and the oboe in particular shines throughout and infuses the melodic contours with style and momentum. The short dialogues between the oboe and the other instruments, and particularly with the cello at the start of the misterioso, are key to the coherency and enjoyment of the work.
Skipworth’s quartet is an important addition to the repertoire for the particular instrumental combination and, judging by the audience reaction, it is destined to become ‘part of the furniture’.
When: Closed in Adelaide. Concerts available in other capital cities.
Where: Adelaide Town Hall