Beethoven performance balances darkness with eloquence

Benjamin Beilman
The Sydney Morning Herald

The next generation of performers were on prominent display this week, first in Jayson Gillham's lyrically restrained performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the SSO and then with the uncannily accomplished Beilman and Tyson violin and piano duo from Musica Viva.

In their recital for Musica Viva, violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Andrew Tyson balanced major sonatas by Janacek and Saint-Saens, with works that set off their weightiness.

They began with a deftly suave, sparklingly light reading of Mozart's remarkable Sonata No. 35 in A major, K. 526, written during the all-too-brief maturity of the composer's Vienna period.

This led to the recital's highpoint, an intense and utterly engrossing performance of the darkly conflicted, sometimes obsessed Violin Sonata that Janacek completed in 1922 after working on it off and on for about eight years.

Cerulean Orbits (receiving its premiere on this tour) by Australian composer Jane Stanley (now at the University of Glasgow) evoked an expanding universe of sounds, melodies and swirling configurations attracted and repelled by inner and outer forces – the individual consciousness and the vastness of the cosmos.

They concluded with Saint-Saens' Sonata No. 1 in D minor, with its "little phrase" that so captivated Proust, playing with stylishness, subtlety and, at the close, breathtaking and irresistible brilliance.
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