Australia Ensemble UNSW 2023 Subscription Concert: Lullabies and Dances

CS233589 Australia Ensemble 2023 - Programs - 1080x1920px3
Saturday May 20, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Sir John Clancy Auditorium

Smetana’s Piano Trio is one last lullaby for a lost child, laced with memories of dancing and joy. Australian Ian Munro and Anne Cawrse affectionately play with lullaby melodies from a range of cultures, while John Novacek pays tribute to ragtime and greats like Fats Waller. 

Anne CAWRSE | Lullabies and Crooked Dances (2007) 

Ian MUNRO | Piano Trio no.2 ‘Book of Lullabies’ (2013) 

John NOVACEK | Four Rags for Two Jons (2006) 

Bedrich SMETANA | Piano Trio in G minor Op.15 (1855) 

David Griffiths, clarinet; Dimity Hall, violin; Julian Smiles, cello; and Ian Munro, piano 

with guest artists Andrew Barnes, bassoon; and Alexandre Oguey, oboe

When Smetana’s four-year-old daughter Bedřiska died, the young composer channelled his sorrow into his first Piano Trio. Beginning with an unaccompanied lament, the piece offers tender lullabies and passionate cries of grief. It attempts to console with dance-rhythms such as the polka, but sadness is palpable in its simple lyricism and even the coruscating cross-rhythms of the finale. 

Anne Cawrse also hears melancholy in many a lullaby, and in this wind trio brings a Turkish song together with contrasting dance episodes. 

John Novacek is fascinated by the fusion of popular and ‘high’ art styles in American music, especially ragtime, ‘that complex hybrid of Black dance tunes filtered through the procedures of the polka, march, and white minstrel song.’ His high-spirited ‘Four Rags’ reflect his love for the music of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. 

Ian Munro’s Piano Trio No.2 is an elegant charm of six lullabies drawn from cultures as diverse as Indigenous Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Scotland. 


To subscribe to our season, please click on the button above, or contact the box office (02) 9385 4874. 

Single Tickets are available for purchase from 13 February: Adult $56 | Senior $43 | Concession $34