Playing to a packed house last evening (Monday 7 th November) in Sydney were clarinetist Sabine Meyer and the Modigliani String Quartet.
How is it ever possible to convey in words the music and the atmosphere that are experienced in a concert? Are words ever sufficient to describe the undisputed virtuoso who has performed around the world for decades at the pinnacle of the art? How is it possible to not even unwittingly rehash the string of adjectives and clichés that are used?
With these hopeless prospects firmly in view, last evening’s concert could simply be described as an experience to treasure.
The programme opened with a new commission from Ian Munro: Clarinet Quintet, ‘Songs from the Bush’ . Munro wrote it in three movements during 2010, and was on hand to present his thoughts. The first two movements represent a fusion of the dual folk song heritage of Australia, in which Irish and Australian folk tunes are linked with a Walmajarri children’s folk tune collected by ethnomusicologist Alice Moyle in 1964. Munro says: “(it) serves to show a link between the two cultures in ways that words can struggle to express and history might tend to deny”.
The stage was held by the Modigliani men for an exquisitely subtle and shimmering performance of Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor opus 10.
After the break, Meyer convened with the ensemble to perform the work that truly showcased her mastery of the clarinet – Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor, opus 115.
Interestingly, Brahms and Debussy composed these two works just 2 years apart – Brahms in 1891 and Debussy in 1893. What they represent though are the past and the future of music in the late 19th century.
Sabine Meyer and the Modigliani String quartet perform at the City Recital Hall again on Saturday November 12th at 2 pm.
Sabine Meyer will conduct a Master class at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Friday 11th November from 5- 7 pm.
Check out Peter MacCallum’s review in the Sydney Morning herald on Wednesday 9th November http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/review/gig/sabine-meyer-and-the-modigliani-quartet-20111108-1n5b5.html