After a delicious afternoon tea we were treated to a magnificent concert by the Streeton Trio, part of the Prelude in Tea series of concerts held at the beautiful Independent Theatre.

The concert was given the umbrella title The Vienna Congress.

Before the concert began violinist Emma Jardine set the program in context, explaining the turbulent times of the period and the dominant influence of Napoleon Bonaparte. She advised that the program explored the complex musical situation in Vienna, the capital of European music at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Two decades of great cultural ferment saw the Vienna Congress (1814/1815) as the turning point between the ideals of the Enlightenment and those of the Restoration. What took place was a radical change in the social role of music, which was no longer used as an instrument of awareness and knowledge, but instead became ‘the opium of the masses ‘ and proved useful in disguising the harsh reality of post-Napoleonic and post-Enlightenment society.These historical circumstances deeply characterised the work of some of the most important composers of the time including Beethoven, Rossini and Schubert who each gravitated towards the cultural hub of Vienna.

The Streeton Trio, named after legendary Australian painter Sir Arthur Streeton, was formed in 2008 in Switzerland by three Australian musicians. The trio is now based in Sydney, Australia and performs internationally. Winner of the 2011 Music Viva Chamber Music Competition, the Streeton Trio has been laureate of several prestigious international competitions, and has won scholarships from Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria and Ian Potter Cultural Trust. In 2012, the trio featured as Musica Viva’s Rising Stars ensemble.

The concert began with Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B Flat Major op 97 which was given a magnificent, vibrant performance. Throughout the entire program there was a great sense of connection between the trio of players.

The first movement was mainly a discussion between the three instruments; the piano rippling and cascading with crystalline clarity, scurrying strings and a use of pizzicato for the violin.

The second movement was dance-like, vibrant yet coolly elegant with a delicate filigreed yet warm tone. The luminous loops of the repeats were fluidly played and it was as if someone was tossing snowflakes, each landing to a brisk conclusion.

The third movement featured passionate, melancholy piano by Kopp with the lyrical strings trying to comfort.

The fourth movement, with its rather spiky strings and emphatic piano was more upbeat leading to a breathless finale. The variations ranged from lyrical passages to more lighter sections.

This piece was followed by Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville. This was a modern arrangement for trio, and was joyously played with a rich, sumptuous tone. There were darting, scurrying strings and there was a dynamic lead-up to a tumultuous conclusion.

The final piece was Schubert’s Piano Trio No 1 in B Flat Major D898 which was given a vibrant performance. In the first movement, Weiss on cello was luminous and Kopp on piano was rippling and cascading. The second movement was mainly an aching lament. The third movement started at a very brisk start with a rounded conversation between the three instruments. All of this led to the very fast dynamic conclusion in the fourth movement.

This was a delightful concert, full of stylish, bravura playing, featuring the luminous cello of Weiss, the honeyed tones of Jardine on violin and the crystalline delicacy of Kopp on piano.

The Streeton Trio performed the concert VIENNA CONGRESS for one performance only on the 28th February.

Running time – concert was just over 2 hours with one interval.

The next concert in the Prelude in Tea series features the Thoroughbass on Sunday 26 March.