Monday, October 25, 2021

Trio gives Greenaway's "Red Fox" a wonderful run

The Little Red Fox for piano trio 

by Sally Greenaway

Live music stream, October 22

Reviewed by Tony Magee

THIS delightful short piece scored for piano, flute and cello is one of a set of three, commissioned by a Canberra couple, celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Canberra composer Sally Greenaway has beautifully captured the essence of what surely is a young fox, darting about, very playful, cheeky, inquisitive, getting up to mischief and learning heaps every day as he or she becomes more and more familiar with the countryside and the other animals who live there.

Canberra composer Sally Greenaway. Photo: Zhenshi van der Klooster

One is instantly transported to a “Wind In the Willows” style of imagery, charming in its child-like innocence, but equally appealing to an adult audience, as the best prose and programatic music can be.

After a gentle musical introduction, setting the scene, Samuel Payne on cello played a delightful melodic opening in the bass register, then repeated it in the treble, followed by amazing arpeggios, over which David Shaw on flute soared with almost bird-like qualities, the arpeggios then being taken over by Edward Neeman at the piano.

Flute and cello then traded musical phrases, supported by a solid bass foundation from the cello.

The piano followed up with supporting fifths with flute dancing above gleefully and the cello responding with tremolo in falling semitones.

The Little Red Fox had a wonderful time scurrying about and enjoying the day to the max.

All three musicians were perfectly in tune, with beautiful tone production and played with the youthful joy and curiosity required to capture the style of the piece.

Reader alert: Reports are just coming
in that a small red fox has escaped into
the text of this review. He is very
friendly, but caution is advised.

The event was beautifully produced for the streaming audience, with excellent production values, including a countdown with musical accompaniment, a brief but very apt introduction by the composer, exquisite sound quality, excellent balance between the three instruments and interesting camera angles and vision.

I was able to run a line-out from my computer through a really nice Luxman amplifier and a pair of KEF 104aB reference monitor speakers. It sounded great.

During her spoken introduction, Greenaway hinted that we might just catch a glimpse of said fox and sure enough, right at the end and you’d have missed it if you blinked, a little red fox did indeed dart across the screen, disappearing into the musical landscape, looking very pleased indeed.

The Little Red Fox is available on Greenaway’s forthcoming CD, “Delights and Dances” or for purchase via unlimited streaming from

First published in Canberra City News, October 23, 2021