It would be hard to imagine a more pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Adelaide than at a chamber music concert in the genteel charm of Elder Hall. Like its gracious sister auditorium, the Town Hall, barely a kilometre away, its bright but subtle acoustics and elegant demeanour are a joy to the eye and ear.
For several years now, Kathryn Selby has opened her series of Selby & Friends concerts in Adelaide. She has a devoted, even adoring audience here, mostly seniors who seem to live for chamber music. Selby rewards them with interesting, if conservative programs and superlative performances by her extensive international network of very fine players. Many of them are Australian expatriates returning home for a week of performances in most capitals.
This past weekend saw the first appearance of the third of five national programs from Selby & Friends. Its title, From Russia with Love, was cheeky and a bit deceptive, as it not only included those dour Russian stalwarts, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, but also two ring-ins, Beethoven and Debussy. Underneath the surface, Selby constantly traces connections which illuminate the music itself.