Archive of Previous Concerts
This concert is based around the Neue Liebeslieder Walzer, the sequel to Brahms’ celebrated partsongs for vocal quartet and four-hands piano duet. The many facets of love, its joys, rewards, disappointments and sorrows, are explored in various ways through contrasts of mood and texture, from solo voice and duet to full ensemble. The program opens with a set of charming duets for female voices by Mendelssohn, who famously created an entirely new genre for solo piano, the Lieder ohne Worte or ‘songs without words’. One of the finest of them named ‘Duetto’ provides a link to the French selections, commencing with one of Fauré’s own piano solos in this genre, from his Romances sans paroles.
Each half of the program features the solo male voice in works that use imagery inspired by changes in nature, times of day and the seasons. The emotional response to an ‘absent’ love is explored in one of the finest song cycles, Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte. Vocal mastery is also seen in the Trois chansons by Fauré, and also in two rarely heard gems by his contemporaries which conclude the program - L’eternelle Sérénade by Georges Huë and Renouveau by Lili Boulanger.
Six Duets Op.63 - Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Ich wollt’ meine Lieb’ ergösse sich (I would that my love)
Abschluss der Zugvögel (Birds’ farewell)
Herbstlied (Autumn song)
Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein (Lily of the valley)
An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved) song cycle Op.99 - Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Neue Liebeslieder (New love songs) Op.65 - Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
14 waltzes and finale for soloists, vocal quartet and piano four-hands – Guest artist Phillip Gearing, piano
‘Duetto’ No.6 from Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without words) Op.38 - Mendelssohn
No.3 in A-flat from Romances sans paroles (Songs without words) Op.17 - Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Trois chansons Op.5 – Fauré
Chant automne (Autumn song)
Rêve d’amour (Love’s dream)
L’absent (The absent one)
L’eternelle Sérénade (Eternal serenade) - Georges Huë (1858-1948)
Renouveau (Spring’s renewal) - Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
Sunday 15 April, 2018 - More Love Songs - with and without words
Our ensemble takes its name from a number of works composed in the 1830s by two leading romantic composers who have featured often in our concerts – Clara Schumann and Gioacchino Rossini. The centrepiece of this concert is a selection of arias and duets from Rossini’s Soirées Musicales, composed to Italian texts and probably first heard in his Parisian salon concerts. These vocal items will be interspersed with several of Clara Schumann’s piano solos from her publication of the same name. This juxtaposition of German and Italian elements also features throughout the program.
Following three of Haydn’s partsongs which alternate between irony, reverence and revelry, the skills of his Viennese contemporaries in setting Italian texts will be seen in several rarely heard solo songs by Schubert and Beethoven. An Italianate reference is also found in the title of the concluding work, the 4 Notturnos for vocal quartet and piano by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, a colleague of Brahms with whose style he has often been compared.
Three partsongs - Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809)
Harmonie in der Ehe (Harmony in marriage)
Abendlied zu Gott (Evening hymn)
Die Beredsamkeit (Eloquence)
Vier Canzonen (Four Italian songs) D.688 - Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Non t’accostar all’urna (Do not approach the urn)
Guarda che bianca luna (Look at that white moon)
Da quel sembiante appresi (From that countenance I learned)
Mio ben, ricordati (Remember, my beloved)
Two Italian songs – Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
In questa tomba oscura (In this dark grave)
L’amante impaziente (The impatient lover)
Arias and duets from Soirées Musicales - Gioacchino Rossini (1892-1868)
La promessa (The promise)
La pesca (Fishing)
L’orgia (The orgy)
La serenata (The serenade)
L’invito (The invitation)
La danza (The dance)
‘Toccatina’ and ‘Polonaise’ from Soirées Musicales Op.6 - Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Vier Notturnos (Four nocturnes) Op.22 - Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900)
Wär’s dunkel, ich läge im Walde (If it were dark I would lie in the wood)
Nacht ist wie ein stilles Meer (Night is like a quiet sea)
Zwei Musikanten zieh’n daher vom Wald (Two musicians depart the forest)
Wie schön hier zu verträumen die Nacht (How beautiful to dream away the night)
Sunday 19 August, 2018 - Soirées Musicales - with and without words
Friday 9 November, 2018 - A Concert fit for a King, a Governor and a new Piano
Our final concert recreates one of the most glamourous events in Brisbane’s social calendar during the Edwardian decade. At Government House on Friday 9 November 1906 about 300 guests heard arias by Mozart and Gounod, ‘Melba’s waltz song’ and various popular ballads, part songs by Sullivan and Barnby, plus instrumental works by Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Dvorák and others. This ‘specially interesting musical programme’ and reception was in celebration of the birthday of King Edward VII. The line-up of performers was an impressive ‘who’s who’ of Brisbane’s musical talent at the time.
Soirées Musicales Quintette returns to perform at stately Old Government House within the Gardens Point campus of QUT on Friday 9 November 2018 at 7.30pm. Our audience is invited to journey back in time to experience an Edwardian musical soirée as was enjoyed by Brisbane’s social set more than a hundred years ago, with the complete program as performed on the exact anniversary 112 years later and in the very same venue. An added feature is the historic Bechstein piano that Lady Chelmsford had recently acquired, and which had its first major public airing at this event in 1906.
Devotion – song by Robert Schumann arranged for piano - Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Mazurka Caprice – George Edmund Bambridge (1842-1916)
Non mi dir – aria from Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
She alone charmeth my sadness (Sous les pieds d’une femme) –
aria from The Queen of Sheba - Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
Se saran rose (Melba’s waltz song) – Luigi Arditi (1822-1903)
April morn – Robert Batten (1871-1915)
The old grey fox – Maude Valérie White (1855-1937)
The sands o’Dee – Frederic Clay (1833-1889)
Beloved it is morn – Florence Aylward (1862-1950)
April morn (Canto a’Aprile) – Pier Adolfo Tirindelli (1858-1937)
Instrumental works – Guest artist Margaret Connolly, violin
Le Cygne (The swan) – Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Moto perpetuo from Suite No.3 Op.34 – Franz Ries (1846-1932)
O, who will o’er the downs – Robert Lucas de Pearsall (1795-1856)
O, hush thee, my babie – Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
Sweet and low – Joseph Barnby (1838-1896)
Good night, beloved – Ciro Pinsuti (1829-1888)
Sunday 7 May 2017 - Songs of Love
This program is based around the much-loved set of short waltzes by Brahms for vocal quartet and four-hands piano duet, the Liebeslieder Walzer. Composed in Vienna, the city which made the waltz its trademark, these setings helped make Brahms a household name. The program commences with two partsongs by Schubert, Vienna’s most famous musical son, including the rousing Lebenslust (Joy in life), and also includes two piano mazurkas from one of our ‘namesake’ compositions, Soirées Musicales by Clara Schumann.
During the nineteenth century Vienna was only rivalled by Paris as a musical centre. The city and its opera houses attracted many composers from elsewhere to settle there, some of whom also wrote partsongs. Massenet’s cycle Chansons des Bois d’Amaranthe (Songs of the amaranth forest) is a delightful study in contrasts, while Rossini’s I Gondolieri and La Passeggiata respectively recall the relaxed outdoor lifestyle of the Venetian gondoliers and the genteel tradition of promenading in a city park.
Sunday 10 September 2017 - Album of Songs
Our ensemble performs not only quartets but also duets and solo repertoire from the nineteenth century, and this program features some of the great song cycles and collections from the period. Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben (A woman’s life and love) traces the emotional journey from courtship through to marriage, motherhood and loneliness in one of the composer’s most beloved cycles. Brahms’ Four serious songs, composed towards the end of his own long and eventful life, contemplates the meaning of life with some of his most profound settings of spiritual texts.
When presented in its entirety, Wolf’s Italian Songbook is a concert in itself, with contrasting moods inspired by vignettes of romance, humour and irony. On this occasion some of the collection’s greatest highlights will be presented. Framing the solo repertoire are two enchanting partsongs by two other fine song composers, Carl Loewe and Josef Rheinberger. The Gesang der Geister (Song of the spirits) and Die Wasserfee (The water-nymph) evoke worlds of mystery imbued with water imagery.
Friday 1 December 2017 - A Christmas Songbook
For centuries composers have found different ways of responding to the Christmas tradition, and each country has developed its own unique traditions and imagery. This program takes listeners on a slightly unusual journey, with artsongs specifically composed for Christmas, some of which reference well-known carols. Commencing in the German-speaking states with songs and ensembles by Schumann, Brahms, Reger (Maria’s lullaby), Strauss and Cornelius (The three kings), the program turns northwards with Scandinavian music by Grieg, Sibelius and Gade, full of images of snow-laden landscapes.
A bracket of French songs follows, including simpler settings by Fauré and Adam (O holy night), Debussy’s last chanson (Noël of the children), and opera-inspired partsongs by Gounod and Rossini. The journey then continues westwards with songs from John Stainer’s collection of English Christmas songs, and concludes in America with Ives (Christmas carol) and Britten’s setting of an Appalachian song (I wonder as I wander). The program is linked by verbal narrations and several items from Liszt’s charming Christmas Tree piano suite.