Schaupp & Steidl reviewed in the Daily Telegraph
Karin Schaupp and Pavel Steidl’s concert ‘daring but sensitive and technically brilliant’
Steve Moffatt, Daily Telegraph
March 04, 2013
Schubert had one and Beethoven described it as sounding like an orchestra.
Rossini and his friend Paganini took theirs out and, dressed as women, played them to the carnival crowds in Rome.
But the guitar, despite glowing praise from such musical greats as Hector Berlioz and Frederic Chopin, didn’t really make a big impact in the concert hall until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Up until then it was more of a parlour instrument smaller and lighter than the modern classical instrument.
Despite this, a lot of music was written for it, not only as a solo instrument but also a duet, and it’s the development of this latter repertoire that is behind Musica Viva’s opening tour featuring Australian guitarist Karin Schaupp and Czech virtuoso Pavel Steidl.
The two met at a guitar festival in Australia and when Musica Viva’s artistic director Carl Vine suggested to Schaupp that she should do a duo tour she immediately suggested Steidl, of whom little was known in Australia.
It’s obvious why Schaupp made the choice; their styles complement each other. Both of them are daring but sensitive and technically brilliant. They obviously enjoy playing together and this makes for an easy-going concert experience.
The first half concentrates on Europe and the early guitarist-composers Johann Kasper Mertz and Fernando Sor, whose lovely duet L’Encouragement is still one of the most popular works of its kind.
Schaupp and Steidl closed this half with a beautifully integrated arrangement of two movements from Schubert’s string quartet No.9 in G minor.
For the second half the pair abandoned their early European replica instruments for the modern guitar and a program which travelled from Spain and Latin America to the performers’ home countries, a lovely arrangement of one of Janacek’s piano pieces and works by two contemporary Australians, Ross Edwards and Phillip Houghton.
This is a good start to Musica Viva’s season, though the talking between numbers, while informative, did get a little tiresome and the use of a static video projection on a big screen behind Schaupp and Steidl could have been used more imaginatively.