Adam chamber concert captures the Romantics

Helene Pohl played one of Clara Schurmann's works in the Love Triangle concert.
Martin de Ruyter

Helene Pohl played one of Clara Schurmann's works in the Love Triangle concert.

Adam Chamber Music Concert Series

Love Triangle

Theatre Royal, February 9

Reviewed by Adrienne Matthews


This was a concert that celebrated love, featuring works by Romantic composers, husband and wife Robert and Clara Schumann and their great friend Johannes Brahms.

I am left bemused as to why Clara's work is not more played. 

She was a woman way ahead of her time, a concert pianist from the age of eleven who went on to perform for over sixty years, well beyond the early death of her husband.

 As violinist Helene Pohl commented prior to performing Clara's "Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op.22"with Hungarian pianist Dénes Varjon, "she has a tender, quirky voice".

This was aptly shown in the variety and lyricism of sounds enmeshed in what was a beautiful conversation between the two instruments.

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Robert Schumann's "Dichterliebe", a song cycle for voice and piano, Op.48, was another opportunity to hear the brilliant Australian tenor Andrew Goodwin flex his vocal skill along with the excellent accompaniment of Hungarian Izabella Simon.

Based on the poetry of Heinrich Heine, this work is a journey through the emotional turbulence of love and contains sixteen songs, each very different from the last.

Goodwin depicted each emotion to perfection with a voice that was pure of tone in every range and with a pianissimo to die for. I was not surprised to overhear someone say, "I could listen to him all night".

Following the interval, Brahms' "Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op.34", had the audience in raptures. 

Performed by the NZ String Quartet with Dénes Varjon at the piano, the complexity of this work with its romantic intensity and abundant tonal and rhythmic surprises was a remarkable accomplishment and a masterclass in quintet playing.

Yet again the audience was thrilled by another performance that makes the Adam Chamber Music Festival such a drawcard to music lovers from NZ and overseas.


 - Stuff


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