Wesley Music Centre, Forrest
Reviewed by Len Power 10 September 2023
A four-hands piano concert featuring works by Claude Debussy, Aristea Melos, W.A. Mozart and Franz Schubert in the capable hands of pianists, Jennifer Hou and Aaron Chew attracted quite a large audience who were treated to a memorable concert of appealing works played by these fine musicians.
Jennifer Hou is a solo and collaborative pianist based in Sydney and Canberra. She received her Masters in Piano Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She also holds a Bachelor of Music from The University of NSW as well as her AMusA (Distinction – 2008) and LMusA (2011). She made her concert debut in 2018 with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Aaron Chew is a recent PhD graduate from the ANU School of Music. Before completing his PhD, he earned a Master of Music (Advanced) degree with First Class Honours and received a University Medal in 2016. In 2017, he became one of the first successful AMEB candidates in NSW to achieve the prestigious F.Mus.A. (Fellowship of Music) qualification.
Claude Debussy’s “Six epigraphes antiques” from 1914 was the first work played in this concert. It was originally written for piano duo. These atmospheric pieces were given a sensitive performance by the players, bringing out the haunting, mysterious qualities in Debussy’s music. “For the Egyptian woman” and “To thank the morning rain” were especially memorable.
The “Immigrant Suite” by the Greek-Australian composer, Aristea Mellos, was a delightful inclusion in the program. The work evoked aspects of her grandmother’s migration to Australia, her subsequently long working life and eventual retirement in Greece. The players brought out all the colour and atmosphere of a life in both countries with their fine playing.
After interval, the Sonata in D major K. 381 by Mozart and the Fantasie in F minor, D.940, Op. 103 by Franz Schubert were performed. These contrasting works, the Mozart bright and busy and the Schubert haunting and melodic, were good showcases for the abilities of these two superb artists.
They alternated between upper and lower parts on the piano for the four works. In addition, their spoken introductions to the works were informative and delivered in a warm and friendly manner.
Photo by Peter Hislop
This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 11 September 2023.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.