The Roaring Twenties


Four pieces from four centuries apart that contrast and connect from an elegant Bach Sonata, through a seemingly effortless Mendelssohn String Quartet and Hindemith’s urbane Kleine Kammermusic to the premiere of the fascinating Speak, by gifted Australian composer Harry Sdraulig.

J.S. BACH | Flute Sonata in E minor BWV1034 (1717-23)

Harry SDRAULIG | Speak (2018, rev.2020)

Paul HINDEMITH | Kleine Kammermusik Op.24 no.2 (1922)

Felix MENDELSSOHN | String Quartet no.1 in E flat Op.12 (1829)

David Griffiths, clarinet; Dene Olding, violin; Dimity Hall, violin; Irina Morozova, viola; Julian Smiles, cello; and Ian Munro, piano

with Emeritus artist Geoffrey Collins, flute; and guest artists Shefali Pryor, oboe; Robert Johnson, horn; and Andrew Barnes, bassoon

Music from the 20s – four centuries apart – includes Bach’s poised and refined E-minor Flute Sonata. Around 1720 Bach was employed at Cöthen, by a genuine enthusiast with a stable of brilliant musicians for whom Bach wrote much of his instrumental work.

Mendelssohn, who kept Bach’s music alive, wrote his String Quartet Op.12 in 1829, mostly during a trip to Britain. It is vintage Mendelssohn, with formal sophistication learned from Beethoven, and the magical fleet-footed writing for strings that he had honed in works like the Octet.

A century later, German composer Paul Hindemith sought a ‘new objectivity’ in music, looking to Bach’s formal rigour and the sparkle of Viennese classicism to express it. His 1922 Kleine Kammermusik for wind quintet encapsulates what one writer calls his ‘vitality, delicacy, wit and variety…unmistakeable sense of fun’.

Harry Straulig’s quintet Speak – completed this year – explores three aspects of communication: dialogue (in varying moods), recollection and introspection, which yields an ornately flowering climax.


Sir John Clancy Auditorium @ UNSW Sydney, Clancy Auditorium, C24 Chancellery Walk, Kensington NSW 2052, Australia


Adult $56 | Senior $43 | Concession $34


Through unsw website Telephone: 02 9385 4874

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