Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of hearing the Sirius Chamber Ensemble playing a wind quintet concert in Leichhardt. As an inner west local, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard the ensemble yet as they quite regularly play in the area. This particular performance in Leichhardt on Norton Street had a great community feel to it with the performers having a cup of tea and cake with the audience at intermission.
Elena Kats-Chernin’s Sand Waltz captivated the audience
Saturday’s program provided great variety starting with a set of Australian works. As Ian, the ensemble’s clarinet player told us, Australian music is a passion of the ensemble. The first work was by arguably one of Australia’s best known composers, Elena Kats-Chernin, called Sand Waltz. This was quite an interesting work with elements being reminiscent of her delicate concert suite Wild Swans, especially in the third movement – this was a highly engaging work, a great concert opener that captivated the audience from the beginning.
Christine Draeger’s Variations on a Patriotic Love Song showcases the ensemble’s rich sound
The second work was by flautist and composer, Christine Draeger who we were lucky enough to have in our audience. Titled Variations on a Patriotic Love Song, this piece really showcased the ensemble’s rich sound. This was in parts quite a playful with cheeky interjections at some points with other gestures emulating a sense of memory in contrast to the sonorous ensemble sound.
Andrew Schultz’s Six miniatures for flute, oboe and clarinet was intriguing
Six miniatures for flute, oboe and clarinet by Andrew Schultz was next on the program. This was a composer I personally had not heard of. The opening was intriguing and had me hooked – composer’s exploration of harmonies through sustained chords was what really stood out in this work for me personally.
Julio Medaglia’s Belle Epoque in Sud-America was a favourite
To finish the first half, a work by Brazilian composer Julio Medaglia with the whole quintet. This was possibly my favourite work of the afternoon and as we were told, is also a favourite of the ensemble that they often play. So many great and iconic south American rhythms and luscious melodies!! I’m definitely biased though seeing as Brazilian music is a great love of mine that I am exploring myself in my own playing. The ensemble played with such conviction and clearly had fun performing this work. Special mention to the clarinetist for the virtuosic Eflat clarinet solo which featured in the last movement.
Nielsen’s Wind Quintet as a great way to finish off the afternoon
After the intermission we heard the ensemble perform Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, a key work of the quintet repertoire. This is a fabulous yet challenging work featuring some of Nielsen’s compositional characteristics, delightful melodies, driving rhythms and is at times quite quirky. After already a full program for the first half, this was a great way to finish off the afternoon!
Repeat performance in Newcastle on 21 May
If you are in the Newcastle area on Saturday 21 May, be sure to catch the Sirius Ensemble – a wonderful selection of music that’s not to be missed! Also be sure to watch out for their debut CD to come out later this year.
Thank you for a lovely afternoon of beautiful chamber music!