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Archive of Previous Concerts

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

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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

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Donizetti Fille du regiment.jpg
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Balfe Bohemian Girl.jpg

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)

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Sunday 15 April, 2018 - More Love Songs - with and without words

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.

Program details:


Six Duets Op.63  -  Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

     Ich wollt’ meine Lieb’ ergösse sich (I would that my love)

     Abschluss der Zugvögel (Birds’ farewell)

     Gruss (Greeting)

     Herbstlied (Autumn song)

     Volkslied (Folksong)

     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 19 August, 2018 - Soirées Musicales - 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.

Program details:


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)

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.  


Program details:


Solo piano

Devotion – song by Robert Schumann arranged for piano - Franz Liszt (1811-1886)

Mazurka Caprice – George Edmund Bambridge (1842-1916)


Opera highlights

                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)

Waltz songs

                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)


Love songs           

                 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.

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