Friday evening, 3rd of June, saw the first appearance in Melbourne of the ‘Resonance’ series of affordable and approachable intimate classical music performances, brought to us by Chris Cartner. As Musical Director Chris puts on the concerts, and on this evening he was also front of stage to present the two sonatas: the titular ‘Appasionata‘ from Beethoven, and Brahms’ epic Sonata in F Minor, op. 5.
There was nothing of the formal about the evening; no sense of an in-group to penetrate. The setting would have gained points just from being a dry, warm spot on what was a cool and drizzly Friday, but it was elevated above the banal by a friendly welcome, some gorgeous architecture and, even with a fairly small crowd, its friendly acoustics. Church it may be, but there was nothing to make the non-Christian uncomfortable; indeed, I was tempted by visions of Chris forsaking the piano to coax some unearthly music from the organ just off stage-right.
Chris stayed at the piano though, and how glad we can be for that. The Beethoven was launched straight in to without delay, seeming to fill the space effortlessly without overwhelming. The applause was effusive – I even caught a ‘Bravo!’ in there. What had felt so enlivening turned out to be only a warm-up both for Chris and the audience; after an explanation (warning?) about what we were about to experience, the Brahms was delivered con brio in to the gaps that I hadn’t even noticed the Beethoven had left. Forty-odd minutes passed in a breath as the music carried us away, skilfully guided by a beautiful performance at the piano.
The relaxed nature of the evening was perfectly rounded off with a glass of wine or two and a casual chat once the last note had ceased to ring, emphasising the complete lack of pretension underlying this series. It brings to mind the openness of the Sidney Myer concerts through summer, but on a much smaller, more personal scale; the ideal cosy setup for such an intimate aural experience. Chris is back with soprano Emilie Lemasson on Friday 24 June for the official launch of ‘Resonance’ in Melbourne; I highly recommend marking that one down in your calendar now!