What a perfect evening. Outstanding musical performances. Welcoming atmosphere. A beautiful space. Produced by Live at Yours at the Great Synagogue, this one evening only performance was packed out. 

Built in 1878, the Great Synagogue on Elizabeth Street is one of Sydney’s most beautiful internal spaces. Its near perfect acoustics allowed Andrew Haveron and Simon Tedeschi to give us a magical musical experience. Simon is one of Australia’s most renowned pianists.  Andrew, Co-Concertmaster with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and  violinist extraordinaire, played the 1757 Guadagnini violin.

After a light-hearted introduction to the music, the two musicians began with the lesser-known Mombach’s ‘Hallel for Shavou’t. Next was Schubert’s ‘Violin Sonata in A Major’, a beautiful arrangement of Schubert’s songs for piano and violin. 

The Greig ‘Violin Sonata No 3 in C minor’ was mesmerising. Built on Norwegian folk melodies and rhythms, this three movement work exploded into playful dance tunes and lyrical melodies. Andrew  enthusiastically explained to the audience that Sergei Rachmaninov and Fritz Kreisler played this piece together in America in 1928 to rapt audiences. You can listen to this concert as restored audio on YouTube. Andrew and Simon are inspired by the ancestry and musicality of the piece and we were mesmerised by their playing of it. Let’s have a hundred year re-play of the Sonata in seven years!

Fritz Kreisler’s ‘Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta’ was much as the title of the piece suggests, very Viennese with wonderfully fantastic rhapsodies. Kreisler is regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. We certainly heard those expressive phrasings from Andrew Haveron last night.

The encore was Rachmaninov ‘Piano Concerto No 2’, as  arranged for violin and piano, a beautiful end to the evening.

The only quibble is that the three non-musicians’ welcoming talks were too long. When you walk into the Synagogue, the beautiful 140 year old space says ‘welcome’ all by itself!

The performance took place at the Great Synagogue on Tuesday 1 June, 2021.

 This was a great concert in an outstanding venue. 

The next Live at Yours event is pianist Konstantin Shamray playing Bach, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Ravel at Customs House  on June 7, 2021.


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