Eggner brothers dazzle and delight – Manly Daily
Steve Moffatt, The Manly Daily
Monday 4 April 2011
On their two previous Musica Viva tours here the three Eggner brothers from Austria quickly established themselves, along with the Jerusalem Quartet, as the young darlings of the chamber music scene.
The siblings – Christoph on piano, Georg, violin, and Florian, cello – had first made their mark when they won a competition in Melbourne, so their connection with this country goes deep.
Sydney audiences will be seeing plenty of them over the coming month as they are taking part in Musica Viva’s four-day festival at the Conservatorium of Music from April 28 to May 1.
For this tour they are performing two programs and for their opening concert they chose one of Beethoven’s lesser known trios, the Op 11 Gassenhauer, in which you can still detect the strong influence of Haydn and Mozart but with the young revolutionary beginning to flex his muscles.
The other established piece on the program was Dvorak’s F minor work Op 65, which has the symphonic sweep of his mentor Brahms and less of the Czech folk music that we associate with him.
The meat in the sandwich, and tasty too, was a work by Musica Viva’s featured composer for 2011, Ian Munro. Better known as a concert pianist, Munro has nevertheless composed some impressive works, many of which have been featured on the Australian Tall Poppies label.
This trio, Tales Of Old Russia, was inspired by three fairy tales. The middle section is the best known story, about an older childless couple who build a snow maiden who dances and plays for a year before melting away.
Georg’s high violin notes and the muted cello part helped create an other-worldly feel.
Two pieces of percussion helped in the final movement about a resourceful soldier who first of all fools elves and hobgoblins before playing a trick on Death and managing to buy 30 years of peace and happiness for his village.
The relentless marching rhythm of the piano was broken up by Prokofiev-like wit and irony before the ensemble launched into a charming waltz, written for the composer’s young daughter and representing the newfound peace and harmony.
The Eggners combine precision and dazzling technique with taste and flair. I thought their performance on their first tour here in 2003 a little flashy – the music occasionally taking second place to their stage presence.
No such reservations about their subsequent appearances, however. They are compelling to watch, especially Florian who is by far the most extravagant of the three.
With fringe flying as he bounces in his chair – throwing out a leg at times and almost dancing at others – and wearing Bono-style glasses, he is the extrovert counterweight to his less demonstrative brothers.
Audio courtesy of ABC Classic FM