Dear Friends and Members of the Sydney Schubert Society,
I am very excited to be able to share with you our 2014 program of Schubertiades. This year, we have tried to give special attention to important connections within musical and cultural life and history both in Schubert’s-and in our time. Further, we are keen to improve the way we involve young, emerging artists in the performance of Schubert’s music. As the Society grows the appreciation and knowledge of Schubert’s music we must remain mindful that young musicians need to be provided with opportunities to play Schubert’s music. To this effect, I have decided this year to consolidate my approach to the Sydney Schubert Ensemble. This group of like-minded musicians and Schubert enthusiasts will increasingly involve and feature young artists at the threshold of their professional life. In my role as an educator and teacher of young musicians, I will increasingly collaborate with young musicians in the performance of Schubert’s music in the hope that his music and the works of his lesser known contemporaries come to life in Sydney in 2014 and beyond while providing all with an opportunity to experience the works and their context in all its vividness.
Our program this year will commence with a performance of one of Schubert’s greatest works: The Octet in F major written in 1824 will be performed in the Schubertiade on March 9 at St. Peters Presbyterian Church by the Sydney Schubert Ensemble. It will be accompanied bu the Septet in E flat written by the Schubert contemporary Conradin Kreutzer. Kreutzer was born in the small Suebian town of Messkirchin 1780 (incidentally also the birthplace of the 20th century philosopher Martin Heideggersome 109 years later). For some time he was Kapellmeister at the Kärtnertor theater in Vienna where he recommended some of Schubert’s Operas repeatedly for performance–alas to no avail. Kreutzer was clearly acquainted with Schubert’s music and cognisant of his genius. A fine, early romantic composer influenced by Carl Maria von Weber, Kreutzer worked as music director, pianist and composer and died in Riga in 1849.
Our Schubertiade on May 6 will feature the internationally renowned harpist Alice Giles in a performance of the Harp Quintet in c minor by the composer and writer E. T. A. Hoffmann. Hoffmann was a most prolific writer with a richly romantic and often dark imagination. His novels acquired immense popularity in the early part of the 19th century and strongly influenced such musicians as Brahms and Schumann (Kreisleriana!).
His theoretical writings on music and Beethoven in particular are still considered important documents of 19th century musical aesthetics. It is less well known that Hoffmann was also an accomplished composer and perhaps in his own mind primarily so. A lawyer by profession, he is now regarded as a founding creative and intellectual leader of Romanticism. It will be a particular joy to present his harp quintet together with music by Schubert and Spohr in a program which also includes the Sydney Schubert Ensemble and pianist Jeanell Carrigan.
The Schubertiade on August 10 features the guitar, an instrument that was dear to Schubert and very popular in Schubert’s time. The great Italian guitarist Mauro Giuliani resided in Vienna from1806 to 1819 and contributed to the instrument’s growing popularity. Our Schubertiade will feature the young Australian guitarist Bradley Kunda who will perform works by Schubert and arrangements of the time and beyond of Schubert’s music with his partner Rebecca McCallion and musicians from the Sydney Schubert Ensemble.
On October 20 we will host the Enigma Quartet, a stylish string quartet of young musicians from the Sydney Symphony and beyond who will perform Beethoven and Schubert–I am hoping to give a substantial introduction to this event to explore the always intriguing and perhaps enigmatic connection between Schubert and Beethoven further. We conclude the year with flair and celebration in a program for four hands belonging to the superb pianists Daniel Herscovitch and Clemens Leske. Schubert wrote somuch beautiful music for this combination that the choice what to play proves ever difficult.... the artists are finding it hard to make up their mind at this point and patience with their enthusiasm is yet required. I will update our website (www.sydneyschubertsociety.com) regularly about the Schubertiades for this year and we should have further decisions there shortly.
Finally, it is heartening to report to you that last year’s program generated a good response and stable financial result for our society. This means that our society is in an optimistic position to continue its work on behalf of the composer and his work. Such encouragement not withstanding, we need to grow our membership base and I urge you and your friends to join or re-join the society and spread the word about our Schubertiades. We welcome involvement and active participation, dialogue and discussion, engagement and enthusiasm for the benefit of the music of the great Franz Schubert!
I look forward to seeing you on March 9 (2.30 pm) at St.
Peters Presbyterian Church,
With warm regards and best wishesfor 2014,
President, Sydney Schubert Society Inc.