As Artistic Director Kathryn Stott pointed out, the first of the Sunset Series concerts,  Czech it out!(her “best title” in the program) presented a concert exactly as the title implied: heavy Czech music. Two major works were highlighted, the not-so-frequently performed Janáček Concertinoand Dvořák’s Americanstring quartet. Between these were celebrated cellist and composer David Popper’s Requiem and Copland’s Three Old American Songs.

Lotte Betts-Dean Lotte Betts-Dean in the opening concertof the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Photo © Andrew Rankin

The Concertinowas a rather difficult piece to make out and interpret on first listening, perhaps explaining its infrequent programming, but nevertheless it is a work that grows on the listener like a wave, ebbing and flowing, unsettled and uncertain. In keeping with Stott’s description of Janáček’s original intention for the work to be a Piano Concerto – before it evolved instead into a chamber concerto scored for three wind instruments and three strings (performed here with piano in the centre and winds and strings on either side) – the music began with a bold piano introduction, the motif introduced twice by pianist Charles Owen, before...