It is with special events like the Brisbane Music Festival that music lovers of this city can really have a chamber music experience. The intimacy of the festival’s ninth concert, The Trout, brings rarely heard gems of the classical repertoire to the Brisbane audiences.
Opening the concert, Bach’s Partita in A-minor is an eye-opener of a solo flute’s performance capabilities. Jonathan Henderson’s masterful rendition of the Partita quickly reveals what this seasoned performer is capable of. The delicate sounds, made only possible with the flautist’s own breath, presented the raw and living connection between the audience and the music. In Henderson’s hands, one note at a time, the music soared, filling the hall with the perfection of Bach’s harmonies.
Then, Schubert’s quintet, The Trout —also the title of this concert—brought together five prominent musicians from different corners of the world. Schubert replaced the second violin with a double bass, giving a beautiful velvety texture to this already elegant and lively composition. The quintet explored the full musical range in an intimate chamber setting. Over the course of its five movements, the musical conversations developed into a lively discussion: every voice reached its climax with intermittent moments of suspense to catch your breath.
The sister voices of the violin (Anne Horton) and the viola (Yoko Okayasu) support each other musically throughout the piece. The decisive and gentlemanly cello (Oliver Scott) was offset by the rhythmic sounds of the double base (Marian Heckenberg). The piano (Alex Raineri) held the piece together, guiding its development, and bringing its own special colour to the conversation. The intricate balance demonstrated by the musicians is a testament to the maturity of this ensemble. The character of each instrument in this interpretation of Schubert’s classic was clearly articulated. The quintet members seem to breathe together, like a fantastic five-headed musical creature.
Brisbane Music Festival’s final concert, Passing Bells, will take place on 18 December 2019 in the Old Museum building.