Tag Archive | spotify

Tim Matthies Remembers Peter Sculthorpe

composer Peter SculthorpeI can’t recall the first time I met Peter, nor the first time I heard his music. In thinking about him over the past few weeks, they both seem to have always been a part of my life. The beauty of his mellifluous voice, his warm presence, the emotive power of his visceral music have all come together as I reflect on the joy he has brought to my life.

An early memory is singing his 1988 carol The Birthday of thy King in the Sydney University Musical Society’s Carolfest in the university’s majestic Neo-Gothic Great Hall. The combination of the memorable text after Henry Vaughan and the vibrant music with its wonderful alto solo line was a powerful indication of what contemporary music could do. Similarly hearing his 1990 his eleventh quartet, Jabiru Dreaming performed by the group he wrote it for, the Kronos Quartet, that year was a very powerful music experience.

Some of my most memorable listening experiences in the past few years have been hearing works by Peter, including those that I have played a small part in helping to bring to life.

When Peter was Musica Viva’s Featured Composer in 2005, he decided to adapt his 1999 String Quartet no 15 to feature William Barton alongside the Goldner String Quartet. After much discussion with the musicians and a lot of re-workings the performances proved a great hit.

Two other memorable performances involved the Goldner’s. Their performance of the String Quartet no 6 (the first Australian work Musica Viva commissioned in 1965) at Ken Tribe’s 90th birthday concert was a reminder of how striking a compositional voice Peter had. Equally, their performance of his String Quartet no 17, commissioned by Ken as his gift to Australian music, at the 2007 Huntington Estate Music Festival was a very moving occasion for everyone in the hall.

Most of all, Peter’s String Quartet no 16 has a very special place in my heart and is the work I’m most proud to have worked on with him. It was commissioned for Musica Viva by Julian Burnside, QC to be performed by the Tokyo String Quartet in November 2005; the group reprising it on their June 2013 farewell tour, and the last time Peter took at a bow at a Musica Viva concert. The work was inspired by From Nothing to Zero, a book of extracts from letters written by asylum seekers in Australian detention centres which Julian had written the preface and chapter introductions for. Peter’s response to its heart-rending testimony of the inhumane treatment of refugees, including children, was some of his finest music and the work stands as a powerful reminder of the power of art to help tell important stories. The response to the work was palpable and the Tokyo’s cellist Clive Greensmith commented at the time that It’s always a special feeling to work with a composer but to play Peter’s piece all over Australia with him in the audience for almost every performance was very special indeed.” Peter himself said that “the work is, I feel, among my very best.“

From the time I began to work in the artistic area at Musica Viva, a particular pleasure was calling Peter. It felt a huge honour to be given his private studio number rather than having to call. Best of all, though, was receiving either a hand-written note – what a distinctive and wonderful hand Peter had – or beautifully composed email. Looking through my folders in writing this, I came across many such emails however this is my favourite. It’s a wonderful combination showing Peter’s pride in his achievements and his love of people and a good party!

Dear Tim:

Yes, the Christmas party was just great.  I must confess, though, that I didn’t feel too good the following morning!

Thanks so much for the SMH article.  I’m really pleased to have a copy of this.  Meantime, have you seen this month’s ‘Limelight’?  String Quartet No.16 rates two questions in The Big Quiz.

Happy happy Christmas to you and to Chris.

Best wishes and love,


Tim Matthies
Director of Business Development, Concerts


Choir of King’s College, Cambridge Spotify Playlist

MVA ICS 2014 Kings College

To celebrate the Australian tour of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, we have programmed this Spotify playlist, which features audio commentary from Musica Viva’s Artistic Coordinator, Hamish Lane.

Acknowledged as the peak of choral excellence in the great British tradition, the boys and men of the Choir, led by conductor Stephen Cleobury, share their uniquely beautiful vocal timbre in an unmissable selection of favourite classics and new repertoire.


The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge tour Australia from 21 July – 2 August. For more information, and to book your tickets, please visit; www.musicaviva.com.au/kings




American Brass Quintet Spotify Playlist


To celebrate the American Brass Quintet‘s first tour of Australian in four decades, Musica Viva Australia have created a Spotify playlist featuring repertoire the ensemble will be performing, as well as commentary from our very own Katherine Kemp.

The American Brass Quintet tour Australia May 15- May 31For more information on the tour, and to book your tickets, please visit musicaviva.com.au/abq, or call 1800 688 482.


Sitkovetsky Trio Spotify Playlist

MVA ICS 2014 Sitkovetsky Trio

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio no 7 in B flat major, op 97 ‘Archduke’

The “Archduke” trio, was composed by Beethoven in 1811. It was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria (thus the nickname), who was the composer’s only piano student at the time. Beethoven performed in the premiere of the piece, although it probably sounded quite different to this recording by the Beaux Arts Trio. Of the performance, German composer and violinist Louis Spohr wrote that “in forte passages the poor deaf man pounded on the keys until the strings jangled, and in piano he played so softly that whole groups of notes were omitted.” It was sadly Beethoven’s last known public performance on piano. Here’s the Beaux Arts Trio with Beethoven’s Piano Trio no 7 in B flat , op 97 – “the archduke” trio.

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Trio in A minor, op 50 ‘In Memory of a Great Artist’

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor is the composer’s only work for this combination of instruments (piano, violin and cello), having mostly written for the orchestral forces for which he is perhaps most recognised. When asked to write a Piano Trio by the work’s patron, Mme von Meck, he replied that he could not endure the torturous combination of piano and strings in any Trio or Sonata form. Despite his aversions, he continued to create this evocative work, driven by the sad news of the passing of Nikolai Rubenstein – pianist, conductor and former employer of Tchaikovsky. The piece is regarded as an elegy to Rubenstein – a reflection on his life. It is performed in this recording by Lang Lang, Vadim Repin and Mischa Maisky.

VINE Piano Trio “The Village”

Musica Viva is proud to provide a platform for the creation of new works, by Australia’s leading and emerging composers and we are forever grateful for the ensembles we present, who continue to give these works life after leaving our shores. The Sitkovetsky Trio will premiere Carl Vine’s Piano Trio “The Village”. Of course, being a world premiere, no recording exists of this work yet, so we’ve included Michael Keiran Harvey’s recording of Vine’s Piano Sonata no 1, written for the pianist and Sydney Dance Company in 1990. It was performed by Michael Keiran Harvey’s sister Bernadette Harvey for Musica Viva’s 2013 International Concert Season.

SMETANA Piano Trio in G minor, op 15

We cap off this playlist with the Grieg Trio’s recording of Smetana’s Piano Trio in G minor. It begins with the rather deep and sorrowful expression of a lamenting solo violin – said to have been a pouring of emotion in response to the loss of his daughter early in her infancy. It was almost 20 years later that Smetana returned to chamber music writing, with his first String Quartet. The Trio combines influences of Schumann and Liszt and finishes with an electric Presto in its final movement.

The Sitkovetsky Trio’s debut CD, released with BIS earlier this year features a dazzling performance of Smetana’s Piano Trio, alongside works by Dvořák and Suk. Visit musicdirect.net.au for more information, or purchase a copy in the foyers following the performances.

For more information on the Sitkovetsky Trio and their tour for Musica Viva, visit musicaviva.com.au/sitkovetsky, or call 1800 688 482.

Hamish Lane
Artistic Coordinator

Kelemen Quartet Spotify Playlist

MVA ICS 2014 Kelemen String QuartetWe have created this Spotify playlist to celebrate the Kelemen Quartet’s upcoming tour for Musica Viva Australia. Covering almost all of the repertoire performed by the Hungarian string quartet, the playlist also features commentary from Musica Viva’s Artistic Coordinator Hamish Lane. The only pieces not included here are Bartok’s String Quartet No. 4 and Ross Edwards’ String Quartet No. 3 ‘Summer Dances’. The latter will be premiered by the Kelemen Quartet on this tour.

For more information, and to book tickets, please visit our website or call 1800 688 482.

Academy of Ancient Music & Sara Macliver Spotify Playlist

Sara 2011 11

To coincide with the Academy of Ancient Music & Sara Macliver’s Australian tour for Musica Viva, we have created a Spotify playlist featuring some of the repertoire the artists will be performing at their concerts. The playlist includes insightful audio commentary from Musica Viva’s Artistic Coordinator, Hamish Lane. Hamish discusses the historical context of each piece and offers insights into the composer’s intentions.  The playlist features brand new recordings of Academy of Ancient Music performing Sinfonia from Saul, as well as Sara Macliver performing Handel’s The Fairy Queen. 

Academy of Ancient Music & Sara Macliver are currently touring Australia for Music Viva. For more information, and to book your tickets, please visit;musicaviva.com.au/aam