Nat Bartsch Trio’s riverside performance proves a hit

Nat Bartsch performing on the river bank. Picture: SUZANNE PHOENIX

By Callum Ludwig

Over 150 attendees flocked down to the banks of the Yarra River in Warburton for a free classical music performance from the Nat Bartsch Trio on Sunday 14 April from 2pm to 3pm.

Melbourne pianist/composer Nat Bartsch presented her ARIA-nominated ABC Classic album Hope, accompanied by Lucy Warren (violin) and Anna Pokorny (cello).

“I don’t know how I’m ever going to top this – it might be the best performance of my life,” Ms Bartsch said.

“Even if I had performed to no one it would have been hard to beat, but the fact that I can share this with you all makes it so special.”

A mix of interested locals and visiting tourists made up the crowd, including lots of families who made the most of the sunny weather and enjoyed the river and the music. One visitor said they had intended on taking her mother to Healesville for the day but had taken a wrong turn and ended up in Warburton and were walking on the other side of the river when the performance began and felt like it was fate that brought them there so stayed and enjoyed the show.

Hope is an album for piano, strings and electronics built around Nat’s distinctive blend of gentle melodic improvisation, jazz harmony and cinematic neoclassical composition. The suite was composed in 2020, first with the smell of bushfire smoke in her home from the Black Summer fires, and later during Melbourne’s long covid lockdowns. Hence the title is an abbreviation of hopefulness and hopelessness, and music exploring the space between. The intention is for the listener to immerse themselves in the music, reflecting and acknowledging all we have endured in the past few years, but ultimately, by the final piece, be looking to the future with a sense of hope.

The album reached #1 on the iTunes Classical Australia charts and #3 on the ARIA classical charts. A jazz/post-rock re-interpretation, Hope Renewed, was released in March of this year.

Alex Pinte of Wildlive mixed the sound for the performance on his 100 per cent renewable energy-powered PA system, controlled on an iPad.

The event was presented in partnership between the Melbourne Recital Centre and Yarra Ranges Council.