There was a sense of anticipation as American violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Andrew Tyson strode onto the stage at Harold Lobb Hall on Thursday night as part of Musica Viva’s International Concert Series.
The pair enjoy flourishing individual careers, having won a swag of international awards, and have drawn praise from around the globe for their exciting partnership.
It is Tyson’s first tour Down Under, Beilman having come to the attention of Australian audiences in 2013 as a 23-year-old.
They certainly delivered on the hype with a program showcasing the great works of violin-piano duo music – a contrast in classical and romantic with a bit of home-grown material thrown in, starting with Mozart’s late Violin Sonata K526.
“What I love about Mozart’s music is that there's a beseeching quality to it: 'Please adore this music, please love me!' I think that's a nice way to open,” Beilman says.
The piece was typically resplendent to the ear and breath-taking to behold in performance, setting the pattern for a stellar show, enhanced by the undeniable youthful brilliance.
Following in Mozart’s delightful wake was Janáček’s Viiolin Sonata, an ominous and passionate departure from the Armadeus piece, equally absorbing in its brooding beauty.
After the break, as is the practice for Musica Viva touring international acts, the pair performed an Australian piece especially composed.
Glasgow based Jane Stanley’s Cerulean Orbits explores the many relationships within music that can exist between violin and piano, and was made possible by Musica Viva’s Hildegard Project, which aims to encourage more female composers in the Australian music landscape.
Before launching into the piece the performers kindly gave a brief introduction to the work and how they approach it, providing a brief insight into not only Stanley’s ornate composition but also a pleasant introduction to the musicians themselves. Tyson had kindly delivered a masterclass to young Newcastle musicians earlier that afternoon as well.
The show climaxed with Saint-Saëns’ compelling First Violin Sonata and it would be fair to say it brought the house down.
An emotional and technical masterpiece that ebbs and flows exuberantly before a flamboyant finish, it was a fantastic way to end the show and drew an outpouring of applause acknowledging just how good the evening had been.
Beilman and Tyson’s national tour concludes with a final show at Sydney City Recital Hall on Saturday, October 15 at 2pm.
This was yet another magical night of music in the Musica Viva concert series which concludes with the final concert for the year by Trio Dali, performing works by Mendelssohn, Smalley and Schubert on November 11.