Season 2023

Review by Classikon

Virtuosic performances at 2023 Sydney Chamber Music Festival

by Alan Holley | Sep 14, 2023 | Ambassador thoughts, Festivals

On a perfect ‘northern beaches of Sydney’ Sunday afternoon an intimate concert of new and old music was given as part of the 2023 Sydney Chamber Music Festival in the artistic surrounds of Manly Art Gallery.

Bridget Bolliger & Vladimir Gorbach performing at the Sydney Chamber Music Festival 2023

The most substantial composition was Schubert’s sonata from 1824 written for the then newly invented string instrument, the arpeggione, a cross between a guitar and a cello and piano. This work has a long history of arrangements for other instruments as the arpeggione only had a few brief moments in the sun before falling into obscurity. Thankfully the history of music was rewarded with a luscious and captivating work written for it by Schubert.

If a listener had never heard the work they could easily imagine that the version for flute and guitar played by Bridget Bolliger and Vladimir Gorbach was the definitive one. These two virtuosic performers were simply superb in the opening movement and revelled in the cascading notes. They developed the rich sonorities that their instruments can provide in the Adagio and explored the different lines in the finale. Bolliger, renowned for her exquisite tone and her immaculate phrasing, charmed the audience with every note. Gorbach is one of those musicians who inspire confidence and his interaction with Bolliger was a delight.

Another arrangement, the Six Romanian Folk Dances by Béla Bartók is particularly effective in this version for flute and guitar. These dances by the Hungarian master composer from the early part of the 20th century are jewels in miniature form. Again, a superlative performance.

It is always a delight when new Australian music is included and artistic director Bridget Bolliger included two works on the easy listening spectrum by Anne Cawrse, Grounded for cello and guitar and Stones by Jim Coyle for flute and guitar. Committed performances all round saw these romantic folk-like works well received by the audience. Two stars in the Australian string scene cellist Tim Nankervis and violist Andrew Jezek joined Bolliger and Gorbach in quartet from early in the 19th century attributed to Schubert. Authenticity aside it proved to be just the right vehicle for all the performers to dazzle and impress.

Very few people live in the CBD sections of our big cities and it is great to see the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust support projects where the people actually live. The Sydney Chamber Music Festival has a proud and distinguished history and I look forward to its future growth.

Click on this link to read the articlet on the Classikon website.