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TOP choices for first Twilight Concert

by Suzanne Yanko

“Combining music by Mozart and Brahms in one concert is a magical idea” says Max Cooke, one of the artists in the Team of Pianists’ first concert for 2016. Certainly the program is an attractive one, to be delivered in the ambience of the Ballroom at Rippon Lea, a favourite venue for TOP’s Twilight Concerts, now in their 23rd year.

Fellow-pianist Darryl Coote explained the title of the concert, Symmetrical Structures. “The wondrous lyricism, elegance and formal balance of Mozart’s music, embody the high-point of Viennese Classicism,” he said. “Many decades later, conservative Brahms was unashamed to continue these ideals.  Whilst the soundscape of Brahms’ music is undeniably Romantic, phrasing, form and large-scale structures in his music, follow classical models.”

The program comprises:

Mozart – Sonata in B-flat major, K 281
Mozart – Fantasia in C minor, K 475
Mozart – Sonata in C minor, K 457
Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer, Op 52

The concert has a work of special interest, according to Coote. In a less than usual setting for ensemble, he and Cooke will present a duet accompaniment together with four singers – Kate Amos (soprano), Karen Van Spall (mezzo-soprano), Michael Petrucelli (tenor), Daniel Carlson (baritone) – in a wonderful set of 18 Liebeslieder Walzer (Love Song Waltzes) by Brahms.

Cooke remarks: “the far more complex structural and emotional features of the Brahms, with four voices and four hands at one piano, present a very different impression than two hands at one piano in Mozart.”

Brahms composed two sets of Liebeslieder Walzer for four voices and piano duet.  This recital provides a rare and special opportunity to experience close-up, the more frequently performed set, Op. 52.  While often performed by choir and piano duet, they are more intimately effective in their impact when performed by soloists, as in this case by some of Melbourne’s finest young singers, together with the well-established four-hands piano team.

As for the “simple structural beauty of Mozart”, this will be expressed by Aura Go in solo piano works. “Even though there are certain obvious differences between a work of Mozart and a work composed yesterday, the way I approach them as a performer is exactly the same,” Go said. “For me, the most important and exciting thing about being a musician is the sense of discovery that comes with getting to know a piece of music – and that journey of discovery is a life-long process!”

“It is so easy to fall into the habit of merely ‘presenting’ a piece of music, but what excites me about this art form is that there is no such thing as a repetition or representation of a genuine emotion. Especially with music so dear to me, as is the case with Mozart’s piano music, that sense of shared discovery with an audience can be very moving,” she continued.

This year marks Mozart’s 260th birthday. For the concert at Rippon Lea the pianist has chosen some of her favourite Mozart piano works that show his “infectious humour and playfulness as well as his powerful drama and pathos”.

As for the intimacy of the space, Aura Go finds it “incredibly rewarding”. Recalling her performance at a concert in Finland recently, at a series of “home concerts” run by friends, she reflected: “Of course it is possible to feel a connection with the audience in a concert hall, but in such a small space, the feeling was magnified to an amazing degree …

“The Team of Pianists concerts enable the same quality of intimacy between performer and audience. I have so many fond memories of playing at Glenfern, Beleura and Rippon Lea while I was studying with Max Cooke many years ago, and it will be very special to return to Rippon Lea alongside members of the Team in April.”

“Special” seems just the word to sum up this TOP concert, presented for one night only. With two well-loved composers, familiar and new works, and a warm connection between the artists, everything is in place for an enchanted evening at Rippon Lea.


This story represents a collaboration between Team of Pianists and Classic Melbourne.

The picture of solo pianist Aura Go was taken by Heikki Tuuli. 


 Bookings for Concert 1: Symmetrical Structures

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