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About the Repertoire - 2023 Concert Season


Saturday 21st October 2023, 7pm - ‘Mostly Twos and Threes' 
Old Government House, 2 George Street Brisbane 

Soirées Musicales Quintette

Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano


Three Duets Op.6 for soprano and baritone (1861-62) - Peter Cornelius
1. Liebesprobe (Love’s test)
2. Der beste Liebesbrief (The best love-letter)
3. Ein Wort der Liebe (A word of love)

Four Duets Op.78 for soprano and tenor (1849) - Robert Schumann

1. Tanzlied (Dance song)
2. Er und sie (He and she)
3. Ich denke dein (I think of you)
4. Wiegenlied (Lullaby)

Poème d’amour – song cycle for tenor and soprano (1880) - Jules Massenet
1. Je me suis plaint (I complained)
2. La nuit, sans doute (At night, without a doubt)
3. Ouvre tes yeux bleus (Open your blue eyes)
4. Puisque’elle a pris ma vie (Because she took my life)
5. Pourquoi pleures tu? (Why are you weeping?)
6. Oh! Ne finis jamais (Oh! never end)


Three Pieces for piano solo (1914) - Lili Boulanger


Two Duos Op.11 for two sopranos (1883-90) - Ernest Chausson
1. La Nuit (Night)
2. Réveil (Reawakening)


Four Duets:
Pleurs d’or (Golden tears) Op.72 for soprano and tenor (1896) - Gabriel Fauré
Barcarola (Boating song) for soprano and baritone (1873) - Charles Gounod
Viens (Come) for soprano and baritone (1856, rev. 1878) - Camille Saint-Saens
A travers bois (Through the woods) for soprano and tenor (1892)  - Cécile Chaminade


Der Hochzeitsbraten (The wedding roast) D.930 - Franz Schubert
- scena for soprano, tenor and baritone (1827)


About the program
Our final concert for 2023 is a sequel to our season opening, which was titled ‘Mostly Threes and Fours’. As an ensemble, we strive to present programs of interesting chamber vocal repertoire, much of which is
rarely performed. This program is no exception, as it focuses mostly on nineteenth-century French and
German composers whose many duets are fascinating settings of poetry by contemporary romantic writers.

In the Op.6 set by Peter Cornelius the two singers speak as one, while in some of the duets from Robert
Schumann’s Op.78 each voice takes on an independent character and role. The ‘she and he’ dialogue
format is also adopted by Jules Massenet, in which the singers appear entirely soloists until the concluding duet. In contrast, Ernest Chausson’s Op.11 duos for two sopranos present the voices as two sides of a single coin. The bracket of individual duets by Fauré, Gounod, Saint-Saëns and Chaminade displays similar approaches, though each employs a different combination of female and male voices.

The concert title’s ‘Threes’ is demonstrated by the set of piano solos by Lili Boulanger. Dating from just
before the outbreak of the Great War, these pieces exemplify the late romantic style. The program’s trio
finale is a humorous rustic scena by Franz Schubert, in which each character is clearly drawn. The bridal
couple, in naïve anticipation of marital bliss, risk imprisonment or worse as they poach in the forest for
some food for their wedding feast. The joyous ending, replete with Tyrolese yodelling, is tinged by jealousy on the part of their erstwhile foe, the gamekeeper, who joins the nuptials as a ‘bribed’ latecomer guest.

Tickets and booking information:


Book through 4MBS Ticketing on 3847 1717, nine to five, Monday to Friday, or online at       Pre-bookings only — no door sales

$45 full / $38 concession / $15 full-time students

Friday 4th August 2023 - ‘Songs and Waltzes of Yesteryear Queensland' 
The Poinciana Lounge, Level 2 State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place South Brisbane


Soirées Musicales Quintette

Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano


Two performances only – 6pm and 8pm on Friday 4 August 2023 (60 minutes, no interval)


'Songs and Waltzes of Yesteryear Queensland'




                ‘Queensland Waltz’ (1913) – Leila Ruth Rowland


                ‘Australia, the pride of the Empire’ (1915) – Erich John

                ‘Our boys at the front’ (1916) – Mary Egan-Mulry

                ‘Think of our boys at the front’ (1917) – Frank R Cox

                 ‘The day of victory’ (1918) – Ernest Gollmick


                The city tram conductor’ (1921) – Victor Benvenuti

                'That’s Johnnie’ (1930) – Wallace Anderson

                 ‘Welcome home to Smithy of the air’ (1930) – Meta McLean

                 ‘When the Prince of Wales arrives in Town’ (1921) – Billy Maloney


                ‘Beautiful Queensland’ (1940) – W.Lee O’Daniel / Tex Morton

                ‘Waltz Gloria’ (1924) – Howard Burstall

                ‘Beautiful sunshine’ (1917) – Stan Wood

                ‘The right place - Trittons’ (c.1930) – Meta McLean

                ‘I found a princess in Queensland’ (1943) – Johnny Nauer


                ‘Burnett Waltz’ (1911) – Leila Ruth Rowland

                ‘The Valley of the Tweed’ (c.1920) – Victor Benvenuti

                 The digger’s jazz’ (1922) – Meta McLean

                 ‘Redcliffe march’ (1928) – Stan Wood

                ‘It’s hot in Brisbane but it’s Coolangatta’ (1953) – Claude Cornell


Soirees Musicales Quintette has been commissioned by the State Library of Queensland to record 40 previously unrecorded songs, piano and violin pieces by Queensland composers from the early-to-mid 20th century. We've had a wonderful time documenting these charming Aussie melodies, assisted by recording engineer Geoff McGahan at Mark McDuff's stunning 'Farmhouse Studio' in Chandler. 


The repertoire is varied and interesting, including patriotic songs from during and after World War One, upbeat music hall songs of the 1920s, stunning piano waltzes, and charmingly humorous 'placename' songs. Many of the composers are unfamiliar to us today, even though they forged major careers during their lifetime. They include several women composers such as Meta Macean, Leila Ruth Rowland and Mary Egan-Mulry, migrants from Italy - Victor Benvenuti and Germany - Hermann Rosendorff and Erich John, and local identities Stan Wood, Billy Maloney and Claude Cornell. Some of the songs also celebrate important events in local and world history, including the visits to Queensland of some of the most famous people of the day.


These recordings will be available in due course as a streamed service via the State Library of Queensland's website catalogue. To celebrate this addition to the documentation of our local musical heritage, we present a 'highlights' concert program. We are particularly excited to perform this program in the State Library of Queensland itself. The performance venue is The Poinciana Lounge on Level 2 - take the lift or stairs from the main entrance, on Stanley Place South Brisbane. The date is Friday 4 August 2023, but due to limited seating capactiy we are presenting two performances, the first starting at 6pm and the second starting at 8pm. The program lasts aproximately 60 minutes, with no interval.


Tickets and booking information:


Book through 4MBS Ticketing on 3847 1717, nine to five, Monday to Friday, or online at       Pre-bookings only — no door sales

$40 full / $35 concession / $15 full-time students

Please note: this concert is General Admission (no numbered seating), with audience access from 30 minutes prior to the performance starting time.

This concert is taking place under government and venue COVID-safe guidelines, as at the date of performance. 

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Sunday 26 March 2023 - ‘Mostly Threes and Fours' 
The Chambers, Somerville House, 17 Graham Street South Brisbane 

Soirées Musicales Quintette

Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano


with associate artist:

Nicholas Tomkin – viola


Sunday 26 March 2023 at 4pm


The Chambers, Somerville House, 17 Graham Street South Brisbane

Entry at Gate 8 on Graham Street for lift and stair access to the second-floor venue

Public transport: Busway to Mater Hill

Parking: 192 Vulture Street Car Park and 15 Hancock Street Car Park (limited street parking)


 ‘Mostly Threes and Fours’



Franz Schubert:

    ‘Cantata on the birthday of the singer Michael Vogl’ D.666 (1819) for soprano, tenor and baritone

     Three songs to texts by Heine from ‘Schwanengesang’ D.957 (published 1828)

  • Am Meer (By the sea)

  • Das Fischermädchen (The fisher maiden)

  • Der Atlas (Atlas)


Adolf Busch:

      Three songs Op.3a (1922) for soprano, viola and piano

  • Nun die Schatten dunkeln (Now darken the shadows)

  • Wonne der Wehmut (Delight of melancholy)

  • Aus dem Himmelsaugen droben (From the celestial eyes above)


Frank Bridge:

       ‘Heart’s ease’ from Three Lyrics for piano solo H.161 (1924)

       ‘Es kommt zu spät’ (It comes too late) from Three Songs with viola H.76 (1907)

       ‘Pensiero’ for viola and piano H.53 (1908)

       Four Lyrics (1903-7) – song cycle for soprano and piano to texts by Heine

  • Dawn and evening H.26a

  • E’en as a lovely flower H.27

  • The violets blue H.69

  • All things that we clasp and cherish H.77


Ralph Vaughan Williams

       Four Hymns for tenor, viola and piano (1920)

  • Lord! Come away!

  • Who is this fair one?

  • Come love, come Lord

  • Evening Hymn

Carl August Cannabich

       6 Canzonette Op.5 (1801) for soprano, tenor and baritone




This program explores repertoire which mostly requires three or four performers in various combinations of voice(s), viola and piano. The works featured are drawn from either the early decades of the nineteenth or twentieth centuries, which are both periods of great stylistic change. The composers, from England or German speaking countries, excelled in setting their own language but in a few cases their texts had other linguistic origins. A strong linking theme is the poetry of Heinrich Heine, which three of the composers chose to set either in the original language, or in English translation. In reference to the concert’s title, the majority of the program naturally divides into brackets of three individual items selected from larger sets, or complete works which were published as cycles of three or four songs each.


Opening with a short trio cantata which Schubert composed in honour of his most influential advocate, the baritone Michael Vogl, the concert concludes with a set of light Canzonettas by Cannabich, also set for three voices. These works, dating from the early 1800s, were clearly designed for domestic chamber performances rather than large concert halls. The birthday cantata was first heard at a summer holiday retreat, where Schubert probably played the piano part and possibly even sang the baritone line, presumably so that the dedicatee could simply enjoy the work as a listener. The Cannabich settings were dedicated to the composer’s patron, the Electress of Bavaria, and so were probably first heard at the court in Munich where Italian opera was much favoured. The authors of the texts are unidentified, except for two which are known to be by Metastasio, the eighteenth century’s most frequently chosen opera librettist.


The central part of the program comprises two sets of songs for voice, viola and piano dating from the early 1920s when some composers eschewed modernism in favour of late romantic idioms. Busch was a leading string chamber musician in the period between the world wars, but it is interesting that the poets he chose to set, including Heine, were all active in the early nineteenth century. Similarly, Vaughan Williams turned to English poetry dating from earlier centuries for these sacred songs. Both these composers demonstrate great affinity with the rich textural possibilities of viola and voice with piano, as did Bridge who produced many fine string works. His early song output is heavily influenced by the poetry of Heine as published in English adaptation, most notably in the featured cycle in which each of the four texts is by a different poet-translator. These settings stand in strong relief to those by Schubert, published posthumously within ‘Schwanengesang’, which demonstrate the wide emotional range for which Heine is renowned.    


We are delighted to return to The Chambers, which as a fine heritage venue is an ideal setting for this program of chamber music for voices, piano and viola.


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