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About the Repertoire - 2023 Concert Season

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

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.


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

Please note - seating allocation is made when booking (online or by phone)

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

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