Strange Bedfellows

What makes strange bedfellows? A strange title for a chamber music concert perhaps? Well, yes but we do have a group of very different people all connected together in the one activity, that being making music. And for our last performance of our 2014 series, Sirius Chamber Ensemble presents a concert of music for unusual combinations of instruments. Joining our regular line-up of woodwinds, strings, brass and piano are special guests Andrew Smith (alto saxophone) and Matthew Collins (trumpet). Music includes the Australian premiere of Aaron Copland’s Quiet City in its original instrumentation, and The Death of Baldr, a new work written especially for Sirius by local composer Paul Smith.

Quiet City, by Aaron Copland

The original score for the play was composed for trumpet, alto saxophone, B♭ clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), and piano. In the composer’s own words, the piece was “an attempt to mirror the troubled main character of Irwin Shaw’s play”. The man, who had abandoned his Jewishness and in pursuit of success had married a rich socialite and became president of a Department store; however, was continually recalled to his conscience by the haunting sound of his brother’s trumpet playing. Copland also observed that, “Quiet City seems to have become a musical entity, superseding the original reasons for its composition”, owing much of its success to its escape from the details of its dramatic context.

The Death of Baldr, by Paul Smith

Norse mythology has long been a source of inspiration for a variety of media. Paintings, novels and video games have all depicted or based their figures on gods and monsters from Norse mythology. The movements of this work, for both the full sextet and the three solos, respond to different characters in the famous tale of the death of Baldr, god of light. As with many mythologies, the pantheon of gods govern different parts of life and nature. The tone of each movement reflects this. The piece culminates with a movement inspired by chief god, Odin, who approaches Baldr’s funeral pyre and whispers, ‘rebirth’.

La Revue de Cuisine, by Bohuslav Martinu

In 1927 Martinu wrote the 10- movement jazz ballet The Temptation of the Saintly Pot, incorporating the popular Charleston, Tango and the Foxtrot dances to complement the unlikely tale of a kitchen utensil love-triangle. Martinu condensed the ballet into a four-movement suite and under the new title of La Revue de Cuisine “The Kitchen Revue”, the suite was premiered in Paris in 1930.

Radio Praga - Ecos del jazz en la obra de Martinů

Radio Praga – Ecos del jazz en la obra de Martinů


The program also includes music by Prokofiev and Koechlin.


  • Sergei Prokofiev – Overture on Hebrew themes for clarinet, string quartet, piano
  • Paul Smith – The Death of Baldr for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, cello and piano
  • Charles Koechlin – Epitaph de Jean Harlowe for flute, alto saxophone and piano
  • Aaron Copland – Quiet City for alto saxophone, trumpet, clarinet/bass clarinet and piano
  • Bohuslav Martinu – Revue de Cuisine for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, cello and piano


Performers: Melissa Coleman (flute), Ian Sykes (clarinets), Alison Evans (bassoon), Julia Zeltzer (french horn), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Clare Kahn (cello), Claire Howard Race (piano)

Guests: Andrew Smith (alto saxophone), Matthew Collins (trumpet), Vanessa Tammetta (violin), Luke Spicer (viola), Belinda McGlynn (piano).


Saturday 1 November, 7:30pm

Glebe Justice Centre (formerly Glebe Café Church), 37-47 St Johns Rd, Glebe

Tickets available at or at the door

Admission: $30 Adult/ $20 Concession/ $10 Child

BYO food, drink and alcohol welcome. Tea, coffee and refreshments available

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