Stuart Long said he's been fascinated by variations and it showed. Variations are works of musical exploration, so a composer looks at a theme, perhaps just 32 bars, then delivers a string of approaches to that set of chords or melody. Stuart mentioned that melody and rhythm and the rest are essential, but interestingly, that the movement of variations and their resolution is key. It's easy
We were celebrating the day after the election ... at least the death of Queen Mary but also her birthday and, I guess, Jesus. This was SCUNA, the amusingly named choral society hinting at inebriation, and they had their orchestra (virtually all players from NCO) and two solo singers, soprano Veronica and mezzo AJ under Lennie. The tympanis were out for the renowned and hugely memorable
They were a civilised bunch, sitting together in a chambre, playing stately, amiable music with attractive melodies placing never-too-excessive demands. One movement was introduced as written for quick sale, by a musician seeking to monetise his fame. Nonetheless, this is Mozart and it's lovely stuff. The performing group was also made up of friends:
two pairings of husband/wife and
It takes a flit from ACO/Branford Marsalis to Smiths to realise the jazz in your soul. This was my last outing with Dan Tepfer. He was playing a jazz gig for CIMF at Smiths with top flight Australians Sam Anning and Alex Hirlian. The place was sold out and I was recording so I had to get there early. I heard them warming up and was already excited. They had played a few gigs together
Second in the concert marathon was a biggie: Australian Chamber Orchestra featuring Branford Marsalis playing music of Villa Lobos, Piazzolla, Ginastera, Stravinski, Golijov and Sally Beamish. Is SB the one out here? She's extant, she knows Branford and it's him playing on my Spotify recording. It's not often I leave a concert at interval, but this time I did. The musicians were great and
It was pretty shoddy planning but also just a concurrence of opportunities that had me with with three concerts in one evening after an afternoon orchestral practice (a playthrough of Wagner, Beethoven 4 and Saint-Saens; I took leave of Dvorak 8!). But then the professionals. First concert up was Dan Tepfer at Fitters Workshop playing his Goldberg variations / variations. The original Bach
We host musicians for the Canberra International Music Festival and we enjoy it immensely. To some degree, it's more interesting to host than to listen. It's more intimate, you learn lots, you're in the know to some degree, you get to hear some highly trained musicians practicing in your lounge room. Last year, it was Cecilia, a wonderful Dutch-Italian baroque violinist with Amati attached.
It was a short walk to a more exposed hilltop for the ADFA Band (Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon). We've all seen them often enough. I like them lots. They bravely countered the elements as trained servicemen/women will, in uniform, no gloves. Some of the older audience could sit here but we could also walk around listening to Bach Toccata and fugue Dmin. Our group was late so
We were "on the mountain", meaning Mt Stromlo and it was bitter cold. It put a freeze on virtually all the music, even inside but particularly in open domes and on an exposed hilltop. This was one CIMF event that demands little walks between venues and offers diverse performers. This is a seriously varied experience and for that it was very good. I ignored the cold, as best I could. For
Masterclasses are a fascinating process. It's an excellent place to hone your awareness, as players or as listeners. This one was a mature (15 years) string quartet guiding a newer quartet (5 years). Of course, the new quartet sounds great when you first hear them, but they just get better as they take on the suggestions from the others. A good pair of ears, they say, and here four pairs.