We have had a lovely week back in Sydney, attending concerts and catching up with family and friends. Sydney really is beautiful at this time of year!
We held our own Sydney concert last Friday evening, at the Pitt St Uniting Church, which is a gorgeous old church right in the centre of Sydney, complete with a Bosendorfer grand piano. Churches can often be very resonant and boomy, but the acoustics at Pitt St are surprisingly good. Our concert there went really well; we performed Haydn, Kats-Chernin, Schubert and Mendelssohn. We were happy to have the concert reviewer John Garran in the audience, who later tweeted “An exquisite delicacy to @streetontrio's Haydn Hob XV 28. The way Haydn should be played. Schubert B flat Trio also eloquently presented… Beautiful Kats-Chernin and Mendelssohn C minor Trio wrapped up @streetontrio concert. Articulate, passionate, all you could wish for.” Thanks John!
After spending five days soaking up the sunshine in Sydney, Manly and the Blue Mountains, we set off to Melbourne on Thursday morning, for our performance at the Castlemaine Festival.This is a huge festival that spans over two weeks, featuring dozens of performers of not only classical music, but also rock, jazz, theatre, dance and visual arts. It’s held in the historic gold mining town of Castlemaine - a gorgeous town in Central Victoria. With tiny, quaint houses from the 1850’s lining the streets and several pretty little churches, it’s hard to believe that this town once housed 50000 gold miners and was the starting point of the Eureka Stockade.
Our arrival was heralded by the first rain storm Castlemaine has seen since last October. It really bucketed down - we could barely see out of our windscreen as we drove through town. The rain must have come as a welcome relief to the olive and grape farmers of Castlemaine - the paddocks were looking very dry and yellow. The air smelt amazing from the first thunderstorm in months over a very dry countryside.
One great thing about touring with a chamber music group is the interesting people you meet along the way. At each city we visit, we get a brief glimpse into the lives of the people looking after us. We have already met such an interesting and varied bunch on this tour - from the man who lived on Magnetic Island to work with the Indigenous Australians in Townsville, to the couple who travelled the world as aid workers, to the couple who run the Castlemaine Garden Festival and restore old houses, to the 80 year old violinist and founder of the Castlemaine Festival, to the evangelical minister who we shared a looong car ride with, to the powerhouse ladies running a vibrant chamber music society. That’s the great thing about music - it brings together the most assorted bunch of people. Each city we visit has such interesting characters whose life stories are all so varied and fascinating. I love meeting our audience members and getting to see the world through their eyes for a few hours. Then we’re whisked off to the next city, where we meet a whole new community of people.
Our Castlemaine Festival concert was sold out - 250 people were packed into the gorgeous Castlemaine Uniting Church. We performed Haydn E major trio, The Spirit and the Maiden by Elena Kats-Chernin, and Mendelssohn C minor Trio. The church as lovely to play in and the Kawai piano was excellent. Here’s Ben having a soundcheck:
We felt a great atmosphere from the audience, and really enjoyed playing for them. I love when you can really sense that the audience is appreciating what you do - that in turn inspires you to be more expressive, more musical, which the audience appreciates more, etc… It’s a love-love situation!
After the concert we were whisked back to a hotel at Melbourne airport, for a quick sleep before our early morning flight in the morning. Next stop… Dubbo!