St Stephen’s Friday Music | Sirius Chamber Ensemble
March 17, 2023, St Stephen’s, Sydney
Melissa Coleman – flute
Ian Sykes – clarinet
Mark Quarmby – piano
The surprise at the Friday Recital this week was the appearance of the director of the Series, Mark Quarmby, as guest pianist replacing an indisposed Claire Howard Race. The whole program had to be re-interpreted but amazingly a fine lunchtime recital ensued.
Sirius Chamber Ensemble is one of the most important groups in Sydney playing a cross section of old and new music and their support of music from Australia is to be applauded.
Melissa Coleman and Ian Sykes despatched two of the American Miniatures by John Rutter with ease and their playing of the jazz influenced Portraits of Langston by USA born composer Valerie Coleman was just perfect for this simple and audience pleasing music.
For many the most compelling work in the concert was the solo clarinet movement from the evocative and at times chilling Quartet for the End of Time written by Olivier Messiaen whilst interred in a prisoner of war camp during WWII and premiered in StalagVIII-A in 1941. Ian Sykes displayed a lovely sustained line punctuated by appropriate outbursts of musical anguish.
Melissa Coleman obviously enjoys the Sonata in a minor for Flute by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. She performed it as if she was conversing with a dear old friend. The poco adagio comforted the listener and the two following allegro mvts light and bright and explored contrasting dynamics.
Mark Quarmby fitted in so well in the Carl Nielsen Rhapsody for Clarinet and Piano and the sweet little Pastorale for flute and piano by Germaine Tailleferre one could be excused for thinking that he was a regular member of the ensemble.
It is a continuing joy to hear these recitals in the Friday Music series in Macquarie Street Sydney and the opportunity to hear a varied line up of musicians and music is one that Sydney should treasure and support.
On Friday March 24, 2023 Diane Berger (principal piccolo in the Opera Australia Orchestra), pianist Sumiko Yamamura and young trumpeter Adelaide Channon perform a fascinating concert. I will be back to hear more!