Haydn: Piano Trio No 39 in G "Gypsy"
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Opus 57
Brahms: String Sextet No 1 in Bb, Opus 18
Donald Armstrong and his Amici Ensemble are regular favourites in Waikanae – no season would be complete without them. In 2022 this group of prominent NZSO musicians will once again be joined by acclaimed pianist Jian Liu to present a varied programme of three masterworks from three very different eras. Because of Covid restrictions allowing only an audience of 100, there will be two performances reserved for Waikanae Music Society members only.
The concert opens with what is probably the best-known of Haydn’s piano trios, nicknamed the “Gypsy” because of its exhilarating finale “in the Hungarian style”. In total contrast is Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, written in 1940 when Russia was on the brink of war. The first performance was a triumph and Shostakovich was honoured with the Stalin Prize. The quintet is regarded as one of the composer’s greatest achievements and one of the greatest chamber works of the 20th Century. Brahms wrote his two youthful string sextets some years before he ventured to write a string quartet. He relished the deep sonority, rich harmonies and almost orchestral range of tone-colours that the additional viola and cello offered, and the sextets stand among his greatest masterpieces. No 1 in Bb is a work of great charm, in turns intimate, melancholy, humorous and triumphant.