Chatswood on a Friday night is buzzing with the night food markets and people heading out for time with their family and friends. Climbing the stairs to the concourse is like heading up to the temple, where one can see directly into a Korean Karaoke restaurant and the emboldened displays of fashion at TopShop. Rising right to the top and entering the concert hall doors, the mood was less abuzz but nicely halted. A quiet reverence held for the music that was about to start.
The Australia Piano Quartet was hosted by the Sydney Mozart Society, and it seemed the members were particularly prompt with their attendance times. We had easily 10 minutes until the start time of 8pm, the hall bells were ringing with not a patron to be seen in the foyer. All were inside ready.
The seating was not allocated and fortunately we found a good position, central and about four rows from the front. For this concert of Mozart Piano Quartet in E-flat, K 452 (after quintet for piano and winds), Mozart Piano Quartet no 1 in G minor, K 478 and concluded with Schumann Piano quartet in E-flat, op 47. The concert master Andrew Haveron replaced the Quartet’s regular violinist Rebecca Chan.
The concert began with the Mozart Piano quartet in E-flat, K 452 (after quintet for piano and winds) and I had just a moment to reflect on how this arrangement may differ from the quintet version with which I was familiar, when the performers arrived on stage.
Daniel De Borah introduced Andrew Haveron, Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as guest. The work itself was introduced as charming and as the performance itself was polite and lovely. The ensemble playing felt a little new at the beginning but settled quickly into the work as the players enjoyed the musical interaction.
Haveron introduced Mozart Piano Quartet no 1 in G minor, K 478 and spoke about the history of particular themes within the corresponding key he used. We learnt that G minor encapsulates sorrow and angst and for operatic qualities in the work.
The opening of the themes emerged brightly. The piano was showcased more in this work as the textural writing allowed more of the intricacies of the solo writing to be heard. The delicate moments were very sensitive and a hush fell over the audience as they were brought into the performance of the second movement.
There was an energetic yet restrained performance of the final movement with the strings driving the vitality. Overall there was an excellent ensemble and Andrew Haveron (guest violin) and James Wannan (Viola) played almost as one sound throughout. Exciting climax.
It’s odd that from the stage of the concourse, the seating seems enormous but when you’re in the hall the appearance isn’t nearly as large. It being Chatswood and coffee readily available we whipped over to the Oliver Brown for a take away and a little sweetie. The benefit of being able to do this is not to be underrated and is definitely to be noted when evaluating whether to attend the concerts in Chatswood or the City!
We were reunited in our seats and the Schuman opened and immediately conjured an image of early morning emerging from the frost. There was a bigger energy for this work than there had been for the Mozart works and felt overall that the ensemble was enjoying themselves.
The strong unison passages were great fun and brought the evening to a close with an enjoyable romp that left the audience elevated for their efforts.
Sydney Mozart Society: Australia Piano Quartet | Friday 4 April, 2017 | The Concourse, Chatswood