About the Repertoire

Now in its fifth year, Soirées Musicales Quintette is once again presenting a series of uniquely interesting concerts of vocal chamber music during 2019.  We return to our favourite venues of St Mary’s Church Kangaroo Point and Old Government House to perform elegant music for voices and instruments.  The ambience and acoustics of these fine heritage buildings from Queensland’s colonial period provide the perfect setting for music that was also created during the nineteenth century.

The romantic era delighted in the allure of night-time and its connotations of romance, mystery and serenity.  For the first time we perform music in the Russian language, some serenade-like partsongs by Tchaikovsky and Arensky, bracketed with a piano nocturne from the ‘Soirées Musicales’ collection by Anton Rubinstein.  Nocturnal themes also pervade the Opus 92 set of quartets by Brahms, who draws inspiration from various poets to create a masterful collection of vocal gems.  These brackets will be framed by selections from Beethoven’s extensive output of settings of folksongs from the British Isles.  These rarely heard but fascinating interpretations of Welsh, English, Irish and Scottish melodies are amply enriched with instrumental support of a trio of piano, violin and cello.

Program details

Folksongs from Wales and England arranged by Beethoven, including ‘Sion, the son of Evan’, ‘To the Aeolian harp’ and ‘The miller of Dee’ from WoO 155 (1817) and WoO 157 (1816)

4 vocal quartets Op.92 (1884) by Johannes Brahms

Folksongs from Ireland arranged by Beethoven, including ‘O harp of Erin’ and ‘O might I but my Patrick love’ and ‘The soldier in a foreign land’ from WoO 152, WoO 153 and WoO 154 (1814-16)

Nocturne in F for piano, from ‘Soirées Musicales’ Op.109 (1884) by Anton Rubinstein

‘Serenade’ Op.57 No.1 with cello obbligato (c. 1902) by Anton Arensky

‘Night’ (1893) by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Folksongs from Scotland arranged by Beethoven, including ‘O swiftly glides the bonny boat’, ‘Glencoe’ and ‘The banner of Buccleuch’ from Op.108 (1818) and WoO 156 (1822)

Guest artists:  Margaret Connolly – violin and Daniel Curro - cello

Following the outstanding success of our recent ‘King’s Birthday’ concert, attended by an enthusiastic capacity audience, we return to Old Government House to recreate more colonial and Federation era highlights.  The Governors rarely hosted public performances, but the official residence was much used for balls and receptions. A notable exception was an 1884 concert presented by the acclaimed Carandini family of singers.  At other times the household was serenaded by the Brisbane Liedertafel, or hosted celebrities such as Emma Albani, international diva.  This program features selections from opera, sacred works, parlour songs, ballads, partsongs and dance music that entertained six of the Queensland governors who resided at Gardens Point across the half-century up to 1910.  The concert also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of Old Government House in 2009, following extensive refurbishments that have returned the building to its original grandeur and elegance.   

Program details

Selections from opera:

Romance ‘Il faut partir’ from ‘La fille du regiment’ (1839) by Gaetano Donizetti

Trio ‘Through the world’ from ‘The Bohemian Girl’ (1843) by Michael William Balfe

Waltz song from ‘Roméo et Juliette’ (1867) by Charles Gounod


Sacred music:

Duet ‘I waited for the Lord’ from ‘Hymn of Praise’ Op.52 (1840) by Felix Mendelssohn

Song ‘Nazareth’ (1856) by Charles Gounod

Dance music for solo piano:

‘Quadrilles on airs from the opera “The Bohemian Girl” by Balfe’ (1845) arranged by William Scharfenberg

 ‘The May Polka’ (1850) by Charles d’Albert

Polonaise in D minor Op.posth.71 No.1 (c. 1825) by Frédéric Chopin


‘Curfew bells’ by Steven Glover

‘The fishermen’ by Vincenzo Gabussi


‘Best of all’ by Frank Lewis Moir

‘My queen’ (1885) by Jacques Blumenthal

‘Let me love thee’ (1868) by Luigi Arditi


‘O hush thee, my babie’ (1867) by Arthur Sullivan

‘Sweet and low’ (1865) by Joseph Barnby

‘Good night, beloved’ by Ciro Pinsuti

This program features works from key turning points in their composers’ lives, demonstrating that as one phase passes, another begins.  In 1849, not long before illness shortened his prolific career, Schumann produced nine sets of choral songs, and also the wonderfully varied ‘Spanisches Liebeslieder’, which is his final vocal ensemble work with piano.  By then Fauré was born, and in 1869 at the age of 20 he produced as his debut in this genre the stunningly beautiful ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’, followed soon by his first vocal duets, and ‘Madrigal’ as a wedding gift to a colleague.  Also dating from 1869 are Rheinberger’s evocative partongs ‘Lockung’ and ‘Die Wasserfee’ which likewise introduced him to the public as a vocal composer.  Finally, as the nineteenth century drew to a close, Stanford published in 1898 ‘The Princess’, an expansive cycle of partsongs  based on Tennyson’s epic poem that had inspired many English composers.  Interspersed among these vocal works are selected song-inspired piano pieces, each titled ‘Romance’ (sans paroles).


Program details

‘Spanisches Liebeslieder’ (Spanish love songs) with piano four hands Op.138 (1849) by Robert Schumann

‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ Op.11 (1865) and ‘Madrigal’ Op.35 (1883) by Gabriel Fauré

2 vocal duets Op.10 (1873) and ‘3 Romances sans paroles’ Op.17 (1878) by Fauré

‘Lockung’ (Temptation) Op.25 (1869) and ‘Die Wasserfee’ (The water-sprite) Op.21 (1869) by Josef Rheinberger

‘Romance’ from ‘Characteristic Pieces’ Op.67 (1873) by Rheinberger

‘Sweet and low’ and ‘O swallow, swallow’ from ‘The Princess’ Op.68 (1898) by Charles Villiers Stanford

‘Romance’ from ‘6 Character Pieces’ Op.132 (1875) by Stanford

Guest artist: Phillip Gearing – piano (Schumann)

© 2019 by Soirées Musicales Quintette

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