Tuesday, May 14, 2024



Canberra Symphony Orchestra's Chamber Ensemble

CSO Chamber Ensemble

Albert Hall, Yarralumla May 12


Reviewed by Len Power


On a chilly autumn afternoon, Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Ensemble presented a warming program of string quartets by Joseph Haydn and Edvard Grieg.

The Chamber Ensemble, consisting of Kirsten Williams, violin, Pip Thompson, violin, Lucy Carrigy-Ryan, viola, and Patrick Suthers, cello, began with Haydn’s String Quartet in F major, Op.50, No.5 The Dream.

Composed in 1787, it is one of 6 quartets of his Opus 50. Four of the quartets, including The Dream were lost for centuries until they turned up in a shopping bag in Melbourne in the 1980s. The find was a revelation to Haydn scholars.

This gorgeous work began brightly, surging along with energy and an underlying tension. It was followed by the serene second movement that earned this quartet the nickname The Dream. The ensemble’s playing of this part was exceptionally clear and quite moving.

The third movement, a minuet with dark undertones, was also given a fine performance leading into the finale, the playing of which was full of energy and sparkle.

The second item on the program was Grieg’s String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27. It was the second of three string quartets written by the composer – the first is now lost. It was written in 1877-78.

Setting a dark tone at the beginning of the first movement, the richness of Grieg’s music carried through the whole quartet. His beloved Norwegian folk music informs the work throughout. It was given a colourful performance by the ensemble through all four movements. Their playing of the melodious second movement and the stirring finale was particularly enjoyable.

Right on cue, the sun streamed in through the large windows of the Albert Hall as the audience showed their appreciation for this charming concert.


Photos by Martin Ollmann

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 13 May 2024.

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/.