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The Australia Quartet, Ken Unsworth Studio

Ken Unsworth Studio presents the Australian Quartet.

I was invited to the Ken Unsworth Studio in Belmont St in Alexandria to attend the launching of a new configuration of the Australia Quartet. Belmont! Alexandria! With an applied imagination: two romantic titles, I think. And at the Ken Unsworth studio, he has created an intimate little performance space, and as I listened to this concert, caused me to reflect, to remember the soiree scenes in films like Visconti’s L’INNOCENTE and THE LEOPARD. If we were all dressed differently I could have believed I was in such a private space and listening to a concert of a private and personal kind. Sitting quietly with friends to a live orchestra, attentive and heated, and knowing refreshments were to follow (there being no air conditioning – days of yore, came flooding back to me – I have always felt, and do believe, that the Arts took off properly in Australia (Sydney) when the venues had air conditioning. Remember the opera at the Elizabethan Theatre, Newtown? My first was DER ROSENKAVALIER, followed by TURANDOT in the ‘gods’. My, was it hot! – breaking out into Wilson Street and Erskineville Rd through the crash doors of the theatre, into the cooler Sydney summer air, (it was cooler, only as a relative experience) and off to the Newtown pubs for refreshment, during those long scene change intervals, was a great and welcome relief!).

The new Australia Quartet: Rebecca Chan, violn; James Wannan, viola; Thomas Rann, cello; Evgeny Ukhanov, piano, played nervously but confidently, with perspiring brows, the labour of their passions translating into a transporting experience. In 1785, Franz Anton Hoffmeister commissioned Mozart to write three piano quartets. The first was regarded as too difficult (the piano was a new instrument at that time) and he was relieved of his further obligation. Mozart disregarded the decision and proceeded with composing, nine months later, the work we heard tonight, Mozart Piano Quartet in E-flat major. K493. This was followed by Gabriel Faure’s Piano Quartet in G-minor. Op 45 (1886). After the summery felicitations of the Mozart, the opening of the Faure was startlingly tempestuous. A new beginning for the Australia Quartet and a privilege to attend, so close, and so closely to their accomplished playing.

I know little of music technique but enjoyed the new Australia Quartet immensely.

 I did with this concert, very much. Best wishes.