Presented as part of the Recital Centre’s Local Heroes concert series, the three works on offer – Bridge’s Phantasy for piano quartet, Muhly’s Motion and Prokofiev’s G minor Quintet – are unlikely to be familiar to most concertgoers.
Even more unlikely is that they’d feature side by side on the same program, given their very different and, certainly in the case of the Prokofiev, idiosyncratic forces.
Melbourne Chamber Players can be best described as a collective rather than a fixed ensemble, its pool of musicians allowing for multiple configurations. While this certainly opens up exciting programming possibilities, such scratch band shuffling could undermine the subtle yet intimate communication that defines top-calibre chamber music.
However, this was far from the case – every member of the group is a rock-steady technician, capable of great feats of individual virtuosity. Yet it was the shared emotional coherence and sensitively balanced tone of their performance that really took these works to the next level.
More than mere local heroes, these musicians are world class.