Wednesday, March 15, 2017

TWO OF A KIND



Robert Schmidli, piano
Wednesday Lunchtime Live
Wesley Music Foundation
Wesley Music Centre Forrest 15 March

Review by Len Power

If the quality of performance is generally as high as that of Robert Schmidli playing two Beethoven sonatas, I really must go to lunchtime concerts more often.

Presented by the Wesley Music Foundation at the Wesley Music Centre in Forrest, Wednesday Lunchtime Live presents regular lunchtime concerts with excellent musicians who, surprisingly, perform for no fee.  An army of volunteers keeps the concerts running smoothly and the concerts are very well attended.  The minimal admission charge is also a good incentive to attend.

Robert Schmidli began piano studies in New Zealand and later continued in Melbourne.  He has performed with a number of orchestras, worked with international artists and done solo recitals in New Zealand as well as Australia.  According to the program, he also ‘moonlights as a medical specialist in endocrinology in Canberra and rural NSW’.

He performed two Beethoven piano sonatas.  An engaging speaker as well as pianist, he introduced both items with interesting information about them.

The Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, a lesser known sonata compared to the ones that usually come to mind, has a deceptively quiet opening which becomes suddenly quite dramatic and then seems to fluctuate almost playfully in mood.  The second movement requires good pace in the playing leading to a rousing finale.  Robert Schmidli’s playing was clear and colourful throughout and very enjoyable.

The second work, the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor (The ‘Appassionata’) is much more well-known.  Robert Schmidli explained that there is constant debate about Beethoven’s motives in writing this and it was not Beethoven who called it ‘The Appassionata’.  Listening to his expert performance of the work, it still felt highly emotive to this reviewer and it was a delight to hear it played so well in a live performance.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Artcetera’ program (9am Saturdays) and ‘Dress Circle’ (3.30pm Mondays).

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