Pianist Andrea Lam Pic Cassandra Hannagan

Nestled beneath the mighty sails of the Sydney Opera House there is a small auditorium which ,through concrete pillars and glass, peeps out over the bay to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Botanical Gardens. The ceiling of concrete, the wooden floor and side panels make it an almost perfect acoustic sound box. There is little room for error.  This is the Utzon Room. 

On a sunny spring afternoon last Sunday here we heard Andrea Lam play  on a Steinway Grand. Music from Brahms to Arvo Part spanning around 150 years.

 It was a masterful performance by the Chinese Australian. The bittersweet melancholy and the silences in  Arvo Part’s “Fur Alina” were ably presented. Contrasting  sharply were Schumann’s “Kinderszenen’ ( “Scenes from Childhood” ) with Ms Lam perfectly capturing the nostalgia  and wistful eras of the past. Especially the g major section “of foreign Lands and peoples”.

 Then came war. Prokofiev’s sonata no 6 took us back to WWII and Russia’s battle with the Germans where we hear gunfire and bullets whizzing past and explosions  threatening to upend our foxhole.

 Finally humanity prevails and Brahms reminds us of mankind’s nobility and God’s majesty and grace. A fitting end to the concert and the cycle.