On a winter’s afternoon there is only one thing better than sitting by a sunny window with coffee and cake, anticipating a concert by the Seraphim Trio – the concert itself!
Entitled Memories, the Prelude in Tea concert at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney began with Czech composer Josef Suk’s Elegie. The Seraphim Trio brought out the romantic melancholy in this piece, which was written in memory of Julius Zeyer, Suk’s poetic friend, on the first anniversary of his death.
This was contrasted by the robust, energetic opening of our Australian Richard Mills’ world premiere, Portraits and Memories. Commissioned by Professor Dimity Reed for her husband’s 80th birthday, the work is made up of vignettes about three imaginary portraits and their evoked memories, linked by promenades, which allow for further reflection. A broad spectrum of moods and emotions gave the members of the Seraphim Trio an opportunity to display their masterful individual and ensemble playing. Were they, perhaps, portraying themselves?
The final work was the tragic Trio in G minor by another Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana. Helen Ayres’ opening violin solo, with its descending scales, set the mood of despair and grief, which was inspired by the death of Smetana’s eldest daughter (soon to be followed by that of his wife and another daughter). Many emotions were communicated by the Seraphim Trio’s expert playing, with the Finale ending in triumph over despair and reconciliation with life.
This was celebrated in real life with wine from the Coriole Vineyards offered to the concert goers, as the winter afternoon drifted into evening.