Anna Goldsworthy –Concert Pianist and Author

A journey of music theatre which is based on her memoir, ‘Piano Lessons’

Novels, menus, paintings and recitals depend for their success, in part, on structure. For this recital the use of Anna Goldsworthy’s book “Piano Lessons” provided a simple but effective way of constructing a recital programme. In some ways it resembled an eight course dégustation menu!  Above all, however, the whole programme thus constructed was a tribute to Anna’s outstandingly perceptive and talented piano teacher Eleonora Sivan with whom she studied from the age of nine.

The special qualities of Eleonora were revealed early in the afternoon when Anna read from her book. During a lesson Anna said “I’ve already learnt that Prelude – I finished it with my old teacher.” Eleonora replied “Bach is never finished. Life in this music is endless.” Anna then played us two Bach Minuets from the Anna Magdalena Notebook – probably in a much more sophisticated way than when she was just nine years old!

Anna continued reading and then played the first movement from Mozart Sonata K333 in B flat. This was very stylishly played and one wished that the whole sonata had been part of the programme. One of Eleonora’s comments on Mozart was: “ Mozart exactly like Midas – every sound he touches turns to gold.”

After appropriate excerpts from her book Anna went on to play a Chopin Berceuse and then Etude Op10 No 5 –an exceptionally difficult étude which was executed with speed and delicacy of touch. The pièce de resistance before the interval was Liszt’s Rigoletto Paraphrase. It is a tall order indeed to represent the characters of the opera as delineated by Eleonora –“ here we have opera, full story, with real characters. Rigoletto is basically a clown – how do you say – jester – and tragic figure really. And his daughter Gilda, completely innocent. Then we have the Duke, professional at seduction. We begin with philosophical introduction, from Liszt not from Verdi”.   This was a stunning and technically brilliant performance with many of the characters clearly recognisable.

After the interval The Prelude and Fugue in C sharp Major was a welcome return to Bach. The prelude was played with vitality and dexterity. The articulation of the fugue subject was in clear contrast to the legato countersubject and the attractive and cleverly constructed episodes added to the interest of the piece.

Beethoven, regarded by Eleonora as “greatest musician”, was well represented in the programme by a powerful performance of the first movement of the Waldstein Sonata Op 53 –a tour de force by anyone’s standards.

The most impressive part of the recital in my view was the wonderfully sensitive playing of the calm middle section of the Chopin Marche Funèbre from Sonata No 2 in B flat. Anna recalled playing this music after she had visited Eleonora who was seriously ill in hospital and it clearly holds many memories for her. The Chopin Nocturne Op 27 No 2 in D flat which followed was a fitting finale for the afternoon.

Overall the blend of readings and music was successful. We were privileged to be allowed a glimpse into Anna’s early life as a musician and to hear some of her favourite pieces studied during that time. I left the church thinking how incredibly lucky Anna Goldsworthy has been to have had such an inspired teacher to develop her considerable talent over many years.

Elisabeth Andrews


Best Loved Opera and Songs – Voci Stupende

Voci Stupende BBOnce again the South Coast Music Society has brought to us a wonderful concert of beautiful music.

On Sunday afternoon 9 August at St Bernard’s Church Batehaven, we were treated to highlights of some of the world’s favourite composers best loved operas and art song.

Performers from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music presented solos, duets, trios and ensemble items that rewarded the large audience who ventured out on a cold winters’ day.

The beautifully well matched voices of sopranos Zoe Drummond and Rebecca Moret performed Mozart’s “Letter Duet” from The Marriage of Figaro. Solos selected by these singers highlighted the lovely spinning quality and dramatic colour of their voices. The pianissimo at the end of “Senza mamma” by Puccini was exquisite.

Bass-baritone Jared Lillehagen sang Puccini’s “Questo amor, vergogna Mia” from Edgar with vibrant tone. He later performed Korngold’s “Mein Sehnen, Mein Wahnen with sensitivity and great vocal dynamics.

The rich, warm and creamy mezzo-soprano voice of Sarah Kemeny excelled in Rossini’s “Una voce poco fa” from Il Barbiere di Sivilia as it moved with agility over the challenging runs. Duets and trios followed which showcased a variety of musical style and versatility.

Soprano Michelle Ryan sang “O mio babbino caro” from Puccinni’s Gianni Schicci and Kunneke’s “Strahlender Mond” with a clear bright tone moving easily into the higher range of her voice. She, as with all the singers, performed their pieces with sincerity and honesty.

At the piano, accompanist Patrick Keith played for the singers with great aplomb throughout the concert.

Jasper Garner-Gore as emcee kept the audience informed of the storylines of each piece as all were performed in the original languages.

An encore of the popular “Time to say goodbye” finished a delightful concert.

On behalf of all who attended we wish these young performers all the best for their artistic careers.

he last concert in the SCMS 2015 series is Anna Goldsworthy, pianist, author and actor who will entertain us at 3.00 pm on 1 November 2015 at St Bernards, Batehaven. Bookings and further information at

Andrea Annear
August 9, 2015

World Class Piano Recital

Avan at PianoAvan Yu’s concert presented by the South Coast Music Society on Sunday 24th May 2015 was world class.

In the perfect acoustic of St Bernard’s Church, Yu performed an extremely challenging and thoughtfully balanced programme with brilliance and exuberance. The atmosphere was electric, and for those fortunate enough to attend, they witnessed an unforgettable performance. The audience was left in no doubt as to why at only 27 years of age, Yu has been the recipient of so many prestigious awards.

Yu introduced each item with fascinating background information and this added to the understanding of the music for the audience. From the opening theme of Mozart’s Sonata in B flat Major K 333, Yu’s brilliant technique and insightful interpretation were evident. The phrases were beautifully sculptured and every nuance in the music observed.

Scriabin’s Sonata Fantasy in G sharp minor Op 19 and Ravel’s La Valse poeme choreographique completed the first half of the concert. Both are from the early 20th century and make huge technical and emotional demands on the performer. Yu was more than up to the task and his extreme virtuosity came to the fore in the climax of La Valse.

Carnival op 9 by Robert Schumann was the major work of the concert. Yu shared his excellent knowledge of the work with the audience and this certainly enhanced their appreciation. The 21 short pieces were performed with great imagination and sensitivity and the increasing technical and emotional demands were effortlessly met.

Pam and Kayleigh

Kayleigh Peard with piano teacher, Pam Larkin, enjoying Avan’s concert.

Avan Yu’s performance on Sunday was marked by sheer brilliance and superb interpretation. After a standing ovation, the audience received an encore of an improvisation on the well-loved song from the Wizard of Oz, Over the Rainbow. This thoughtful and very moving piece concluded the concert.

Following the concert there was a Q&A session for the audience in which Yu answered a variety of questions about his life in music. These sessions are new this year for the South Coast Music Society and are a great opportunity to get to know our performers and a little about their backgrounds.

Music lovers of Batemans Bay and surrounding areas are most fortunate in having artists the calibre of Avan Yu presenting concerts for us. This was Yu’s second visit, the first being after winning the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2012. I do hope we see him again in the not too distant future.

Pam Larkin
May 2015