01 August 2018


The Mendelssohn is a classic of the form and the Spohr is a prelude to it. These are two pieces for 8 string players. Spohr's was written at age 40 when he was well respected; Mendelssohn's when he was just 16. Spohr's is a double quartet, inventive but essentially two string quartets playing together. Mendelssohn's is more a work for 8 players playing together, soaring, lyrical, intricate, as the program says, with exuberant joy. Famous enough that you're expected to remember the first time you heard it. I remember, at least, hearing this group do it some time back at Tuggeranong Arts Centre. The group is a relatively new one, eight strings, professional players from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, led by BJ Gilby, with various faces mostly from front desks. Impressive. And well presented. Quiet and effective entries and bows. Barbara likes that: you have to be the musician people expect, confident in performance. Her style shows in a presence that's engaging. This was another in the High Court foyer, so a large audience, well versed, frequent attendees, listening with that reverberence of concrete and marble. And the black against the bright, sun-lit, tree-blown windows. Professional, serious but relieved, well punctuated music; phrases and scales dropped from strings like honey; busy and intricate in the passing of passages through the members. I found it fascinating to follow some of these passages, starting with one cello then to the other, through violas to violins and a final exhuberant embellishments on the first violin. Wonderful music in a wonderful space with wonderful local musos. Much enjoyed

Canberra Strings comprised Barbara Jane Gilby, Doreen Cumming, Pip Thompson and Isobel Ferrier (violins), Jack Chenoweth and Lucy Carrigy-Ryan (viola) and Matisha Panagoda and Julia Janiszewski (cello).

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