Clas­si­cal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Vin­cent Plush

Four Hands: Aus­tralian Mu­sic for Pi­ano Viney-Grin­berg Pi­ano Duo ABC Clas­sics It has been a bumper year for Aus­tralian key­board mu­sic. Barely a week in 2016 went by with­out news of a new en­sem­ble, tour, fes­ti­val ap­pear­ance or al­bum re­lease. The lat­est, and in many re­spects most sat­is­fy­ing to date, is a new record­ing by the Bris­bane-based Viney-Grin­berg Pi­ano Duo, play­ing works for pi­ano (four hands) by five Aus­tralian com­posers. Ver­sa­tile Bris­bane mu­si­cian Liam Viney met Is­raeli pi­anist Anna Grin­berg while study­ing at Yale. They mar­ried and joined the per­for­mance fac­ulty at Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of the Arts be­fore re­turn­ing to Bris­bane where they are on the staff of the school of mu­sic at the Univer­sity of Queens­land. This al­bum is the re­sult of a vig­or­ous com­mis­sion­ing pro­gram by the duo — 15 pieces thus far and more in the pipe­line — gen­er­ously sup­ported by their univer­sity. Stylis­ti­cally, their al­bum runs the gamut from en­dear­ingly sim­ple to ir­ri­tat­ingly com­plex. Peter Sculthorpe’s re­work­ings of four lit­tle pieces from his child­hood, com­posed as a 50th birth­day present to him­self, are in­gra­ti­at­ingly charm­ing. Much of the same spirit flows into the nine bagatelles Ross Ed­wards has cap­tured as A Flight of Sun­birds, cap­ti­vat­ing pieces heard re­cently in a two-pi­ano ver­sion by Bon­nie Brown and Louisa Breen. Is it pos­si­ble to by­pass Elena Kats-Ch­ernin? Her re­cent piece Vic­tor’s Heart be­gins som­brely but shifts to more fa­mil­iar Ny­man-es­que ter­ri­tory. Stu­art Green­baum’s three-move­ment sonata is a 20minute gem, with some at­trac­tive ideas that spin out freely, nat­u­rally and per­sua­sively. Carl Vine’s 23-minute sonata rounds out the pro­gram. The per­for­mances are, not sur­pris­ingly, bristling with verve and flair; they bloom in the crys­talline acous­tics of the Queens­land Con­ser­va­to­rium Hall in this im­pres­sive and highly at­trac­tive de­but record­ing.

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