Interview with Christopher Moore – part 1

DC5266_8599_Chris_Moore_-®Keith_SaundersThe chamber music landscape is littered with piano trios and string quartets. Piano quartets, as a formation, do not feature. To turn a piano trio into a quartet you need a viola, which is where Christopher Moore comes in.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s principal violist is happy to be the missing link between the German-based Morgenstern Trio and Schumann and Mahler’s piano quartets.

“I haven’t actually done that much piano quartet repertoire,” Moore reflects. “I’ve played a lot of string quartets, but the piano is a different beast. You have to play in such a different way that it keeps you on your toes.”

Though he has not yet met the trio, Moore lauds the opportunities afforded by modern technology. You Tube has taken him into the Morgenstern’s rehearsal spaces and daily lives, and enabled him to watch them talk and play.

“I feel as if I know them already. They seem like a little family – they clearly know each other very well, and get along brilliantly. It will be a new experience for me, even though I’ve played in a number of piano quartets over the years, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

It is some time since Moore has played Schumann’s opus 47 Piano Quartet, and Mahler’s one-movement rarity is new to him.

“It’s great to play some repertoire that’s fresh for me,” he says.

“The romantic repertoire is where I feel the most comfortable – it seems intuitive to me – so I seldom find myself not having fun, especially with Schumann and Mahler, Strauss and Ravel.

“Mahler is a symphonic composer, and the piano can sound like an entire orchestra in the right hands – I guess that’s what Mahler is drawn to. And the Schumann – of course I love the music. I guess I’m a romantic at heart. But I don’t behave like one!”

Both assertions seem faintly surprising. How DOES a romantic behave?

“I dunno,” sighs Moore. “Sort of swoons around and sniffs the flowers, that sort of thing. But we don’t have time to do that in our lives. The only opportunity you get is when your imagination is swept away while you listen to or play this music. It gives you an opportunity to escape the real world for a while.

“Classical repertoire is pure joy, but romantic music is so much more multi-faceted. They’re pushing the boundaries with harmony and rhythm.”

© Shirley Apthorp

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