Selby and friends present ‘A Ghost at the Cafe’


When Carl Czerny learnt piano from Beethoven, he was about 10 years old. Young and impressionable, it is possible that Beethoven played to him a piano trio he was composing. The young Czerny apparently described it (in the vernacular of the day) as ‘spooky’, giving Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major, opus 70 No 1 the nickname by which it continues to be known – the “Ghost” Trio.

It is one of the works in the Selby and Friends’ inaugural concert for 2012 “A Ghost at the Cafe”. Also in the programme, music by Bridge, Shostakovich and Schoenfield. Joining pianist Kathryn Selby this year are violinist Sophie Rowell, carving an independent career after leaving the Australian String Quartet last year, and New Yorker, cellist Clancy Newman. Newman spent some of his childhood years in Australia where his ability was recognised at the age of 12 when he won the Gold Medal for Strings at the Dandenong Youth Festival. Then followed Naumberg and Avery Fisher Awards as well as a Master of Music degree from the Juillard school.

Shostakovich composed the poignant Piano Trio in E minor, opus 67 in 1944, as war waged around him and as he endured years of balancing artistic integrity against the tyranny of Stalin. Shostakovich’s friend Ivan Sollertinsky had recently died. The horrors of the war and Sollertinsky’s Jewish heritage are acknowledged in the inclusion of a Jewish theme in the finale of the trio. The work is restless and demands virtuoso playing from the trio, particularly the cellist.

Paul Schoenfield (b 1946) was prompted to write his Cafe Music after entertaining diners at Minneapolis restaurant. “My intention was to write a kind of high-class dinner music — music which could be played at a restaurant, but might also (just barely) find its way into a concert hall”. It incorporates a vareity of appealing styles – Broadway, Viennese light classical music, gypsy melodies and jazz.

For tickets call  (02) 8256 2222 or 1300 797 118; on line at or in person at the Box Office, 2 Angel Place, Sydney

Book before Wednesday 29th February for a 10% discount.

The programme:

BRIDGE Miniatures for Piano Trio (1908) Set 2 Nos.4-6 9
(Romance, Intermezzo, Saltarello)
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio No.5 in D major 30 Op.70 No.1 (“Ghost”)
SCHOENFIELD Café Music (1987)
SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Trio in E minor, Op.67


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