Blog Archives

From Prague to Paris…and all that jazz

Sirius Chamber Ensemble have an ongoing affection for the music of Bohuslav Martinů, having performed his La Revue de Cuisine on a number of occasions. So we are delighted to program his Quartet for clarinet, French horn, violoncello and snare drum (1924) for our next concert, Where the heart Is. And we are excited to invite our very first percussionist to the ensemble, notwithstanding the occasional triangle part! Joshua Hill, Sydney percussionist, is a member of Australia’s premier percussion ensemble SYNERGY Percussion and has performed with many of Australia’s leading orchestras and ensembles including the Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Canberra Symphony and Ensemble Offspring.

In 1923, Bohuslav Martinů moved from Prague to Paris, where he stayed until 1940. Under the tutelage of Albert Roussell, Martinů began to find his compositional style. The 1920s in Paris was a melting pot of new trends, and elements of jazz, neoclassicism and surrealism can be found in the compositions by Martinů during this time. Martinů was also inspired by the music of Igor Stravinsky, particularly the ballets which were a reflection of the modernism movement of the day.

The Quartet for clarinet, French horn, violoncello and snare drum was a significant composition from the early years Martinů spent in Paris. Although written for an unusual combination of instruments, there are similarities between this composition and L’Histoire du Soldat by Stravinsky, which was premiered in 1918.

According to an analysis by Robert G. Patterson, the connections between this Quartet and Stravinsky’s L’Histoire are the inclusion of the snare drum in prominent positions, the use of overlapping polyrhythms and nationalist themes. Martinů employs thematic use of the medieval Czech hymn Svatý Václave (Saint Wenceslas Chorale) in the first and third movements.

You can hear Joshua Hill on snare drum, along with Ian Sykes (clarinet), Michael Wray (French horn) and Steve Meyer (violoncello) at a free lunchtime concert at St Stephens Uniting Church on Friday 13th October, 1:10 pm and at Christ Church Lavender Bay on Saturday 21st October, 6:00 pm. Funds raised at the Where the Heart Is concert will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Australia to assist their work to build safer homes and stronger communities throughout the Asia Pacific region.

For tickets visit ClassikOn.

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October 7, 2017 · 11:18 am

Maurice Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet.

Watch this lovely performance by harpist Isabelle Moretti and French chamber musicians, of Ravel’s composition commissioned by instrument making company Erard for the double action pedal harp. The composition marvellously displays the expressive range of the harp.

Come to listen to Sydney harpist Owen Torr and Sirius Chamber Ensemble play this work by Ravel, as well as music of Debussy, Taffanel and Connesson at the Glebe Justice Centre on Saturday 28th June, 1:30pm.

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June 15, 2014 · 3:22 pm