★★★★☆ Themes and variations with Selby’s friends makes for a pleasant evening indeed.

City Recital Hall, Sydney
February 25, 2016

Now in its 10th year, Selby & Friends begins its 2016 series with Varied Virtues, a concert centred on works by Beethoven, Busoni, Schubert and Arensky that use theme and variations form. If only we all had friends like Kathryn Selby! The popular Australian pianist is joined by the Concertmaster of the SSO Andrew Haveron and the ACO’s Principal Cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, two superb instrumentalists who combine with Selby for a pleasant evening of music-making.

As is the case with other concerts in this series, Selby asks the instrumentalists to introduce the works, a nice touch that allows the audience to get a feel for what the performers are thinking when they perform and programme the works. The first item, Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E Flat. Op. 44 No 10, was written when the composer was just twenty-two. Though it shares that most heroic of keys with giant works like the Third Symphony and the Fifth Piano Concerto, this piece is small and intimate. As always with Beethoven, much is made of a work from the barest of musical means....