City Recital Hall Angel Place
April 17, 2015

If versatility is one of the hallmarks of a great pianist, then Kathryn Selby can rightly lay claim to being Australia’s “pre-eminent chamber music pianist”, as the programme note of her concert at Angel Place glowingly announced without hyperbole. On this evening of sumptuous and varied music making, Selby guided us with great facility from the plains of South America through Western Europe, ending amongst the rubble of war-torn Russia.

The first item on the program was the American composer Joan Tower’s Big Sky, a short, brooding piano trio based on the composer’s experiences around the deep valley of La Paz, Bolivia. The expansive passages in the violin and cello certainly gave a strong impression of the young composer looking up in awe at the Andes mountains, while the masterfully handled descending triplet passages in the piano evoked the sense that while we might strive to surmount those lofty peaks, we are ultimately humbled before the sheerness of nature.

From Bolivia the audience was flung into the world of early Beethoven with a stirring rendition of the Sonata for cello and piano in F, written in 1796. Beethoven was largely responsible for developing the...