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Australia Ensemble: Contrasts

18 September 2021
8:00pm - 9:30pm
Sir John Clancy Auditorium
Musicians in front of gold wall

Francis POULENC | Sonata for clarinet and bassoon (1922 rev.1945)

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN | Quintet in E flat Op.16 for piano and winds (1796)

Béla BARTÓK | Contrasts (1938)

Johannes BRAHMS | Horn Trio in E flat, Op.40 (1865)

David Griffiths, clarinet; and Ian Munro, piano

with guest artists Lerida Delbridge, violin; Shefali Prior, oboe; Andrew Barnes, bassoon; and Robert Johnson, horn

This program showcases works born of invention and experimentation, whether rising to new challenges, pushing boundaries or extending traditional forms. Francis Poulenc’s jazzy and bitonal Sonata for clarinet and bassoon begins the concert, a work that reflects Poulenc’s deliberate shift from a composer of instinct to one of intelligence. Ludwig van Beethoven’s op.16 Quintet for piano and winds was likely inspired by Mozart’s Quintet K452, but Beethoven’s own voice is unmistakeable in its more expansive form and characteristic harmonies. Béla Bartók’s Contrasts was commissioned by jazz musician Benny Goodman and combines Bartók’s inimitable treatment of tempo, instrumentation and harmony with suggestions of jazz styles. Closing the program is Johannes Brahms’ Horn Trio. Composed in 1865, the Horn Trio possesses an original form supporting the musical ideas, with Brahms guided more by his choice to score it for the superseded natural horn than by traditional expectations.