27 September 2015
St Martin's alt.
Megan's in London and attending a few concerts. One was at St Martin's in the Field, covering a slew of pop classics. It was not an opportune choice. You can travel through summertime Europe and hear Albinoni and Four Seasons and the like wherever, capably played but very workday performances. The red and black posters give it away; they are everywhere (they have even come to Manuka, if only rarely). It's amusing to see the musos lope out afterwards, non-plussed. Megan observed that the concert was good but we see as good in Canberra, if less frequently. So it was exciting to attend a second challenging performance in two nights, here, at Welsey. First was Australian Haydn Ensemble, all period instruments and classical dignity. Second was Foray Quintet playing Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Dora Pejacevic in a program called Vatra (Croatian for "heat"). The Croatian reference was to Dora Pejacevic, a woman of leftist leanings who left her noble Croation background to pursue music in Germany. She died in 1923, aged only 37, having written 106 compositions. Foray played her piano quintet in B minor op.40. Interestingly, Kimberley introduced this piece with the quintet playing key themes in each of the four movements. An excellent orientation to a fiery piece written during WW1. The Mendelssohn was the opener, two movements from his piano trio no. 1 in D minor, played to leaven the program a little. The main work, after interval, was Shostakovich piano quintet in G minor op.57. It's a complex piece in five movements written in the Stalinist Russia, in threat of denunciation, in a tumultuous year fur the USSR during WW2. I was enamoured by the music, enjoyed the playing by all, although I particularly took note of Kimberley's piano and watched Annie's bowing and the ring-in violinist Lidia who did a great job at short notice, sharing the first violin seat with Elyane. Foray are brought together from several cities to tour every now and then. This was such a pleasure and such a diverse offering from that of AHE just the night before. A convincing performance that would have been a worthy, and probably more satisfying, alternative to Megan's outing in that London field.
Foray Quintet performed Shostakovich, Pejacevic and Mendelssohn at Welsey. Foray comprised Kimberley Steele (piano), Elyane de Fontenay (violin), Lidia Bara (violin), Sarina Walter (viola) and Anneliese McGee-Collett (cello).