Music

OMEGA ENSEMBLE @ THE UTZON ROOM, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Concert Program

Neilsen : Wind Quintet, Op 43

Hindemith  Kleine Kammermusik for Wind Quintet, Op. 24, No. 2

Françaix Quartet for Winds

Beethoven Quintet in E flat major for Piano and Winds, Op. 16

Neilsen : Wind Quintet, Op.43
Impressions of this long and interesting work varied, like the performance itself, crisp with good harmonic density allowing the musicians to flourish with much individual expression and solo performance. Repeatedly the variation in mood evoked visual pictures of the natural albeit at times dense environment which challenged and contrasted with the reality of observing a pleasure craft sailing past the panoramic window of the room. Utzon would have been pleased!
Kleine Kammermusic for WIND quintet. Paul Hindermith Opus 24 1922

Something different, unexpected, well named and very playful indeed which contrasted with the mid afternoon haze and softness of the harbour view. This was a new experience for the audience and me, hearing it for the first time.

This piece was a forceful statement from the beginning, allowing full testing of virtuosity, personal expression and enjoyment by the musicians which frequently became clearly visible to all to enjoy. So we too enjoyed, absorbed the mood of the performers and interpreted  the work and journey accordingly.

My preference for experiencing this work more than once with its  constant  but very interesting interplay of the dissonant and deliciously warm melody variations would be in a dark room allowing a swirl of images to form and assault our imagination beyond one’s usual expectations.

The power, emotion and momentum produced at times seemed more than what could be expect from a quintet, and with the easily perceptible Stravinsky like harmonic and rhythmic punctuations made it exciting listening, some of which felt reminiscent of Petrushka.

Consequently, the frequent confrontation within the work with so much sudden dissonance  may be disturbing to some and invigorating to others, like life itself, unpredictable, but this work one can enjoy more than once.  

Quartet for Winds, Jean Francaix 1933

No horn! No wild images to blow your mind, just light, enthusiastic, joyful sound with traces of lively exuberance. Genius it seems manifests in infinite ways contriving some very complex multi instrument compositions like Wagner has and at the other end of the scale we, today experienced the opposite in a quartet with verve sparkle and wit with such ease.

Although composed recently. mid last century, the work defies the trend towards atonal and dissonant compositions allowing the simple combination of sound to be easily digested and identifying a clear positive statement with just four wind instruments, one could call elation without the extreme.

Such is genius, often overlooked, but here within the bare bones of the Utzon room Francaix’s work was a sheer delight,  made possible on this occasion only by the talent and sensitivity  of the four really fine artists involved.

Quintet in E-flat major for Piano and Winds. Op. 16, 1796. Ludwig Van Beethoven

Suddenly, like warm air flooding a cold room, from the very first phrase, that familiar Beethoven sound embraced the space filled predominantly with a white haired audience. Immediately, the reaction was palpable. Is this because since his death we made him so popular and as such his works are familiar or is there an enduring special quality about the way he tells the story – unlike any other composer?

In this early work, like in many of his later compositions, Beethoven touches the nerve quickly and directly – no ambiguous wavering and innuendo for him, boldly, with the minimum foreplay he is into one’s head in the simplest, most economic way creating themes and enormous variety emotions, frequently at an amazing rate. And it hangs together amazingly well producing delight which I called the ‘Beethoven sound’, already there, untapped at 27, that everybody now recognises.

This work, probably re-written for our benefit seems in parts as intended to enhance the role of the piano and as such have the wind quartet provide spatial continuity and a background.

Whatever the original intention for the Viennese audience, this performance in Sydney required extreme skill to provide a performance of considerable virtuosity and Omega’s lovely pianist Maria Raspopova did deliver and so did the 4 members of the wind group, splendidly.  

Repeat listening is recommended for deeper understanding of the work and its possible relationship to the later, more mature and intricate piano trio, also in E-flat major created 12 years later on with Beethoven’s return to composing chamber music.

Review by Michael Bures ASTC RAIA

 

Australian Chamber Orchestra in Concert with guest artist Emmanuel Pahud

This was an absolutely ravishing, exquisite concert and a feast for the senses.

Fourteen years after his Australian debut with the ACO, one of Richard Tognetti’s great musical friends is back with his special 14K solid gold flute. Guest soloist Emmanuel Pahud currently divides his time between his Principal Flute position at the Berlin Philharmonic and touring the world as a soloist.

Through the concert there was a great rapport between  Tognetti, Pahud and the Orchestra.

We first heard CPE Bach’s Sonata for Flute in A minor in three movements. The first movement was slow and languid, the second intricate, bright and bubbling with the flute darting and fluttering. In the third movement the flute was even more birdlike in parts; teasing , scampering and swooping. Pahud’s playing was dazzling and effortless with creamy, expressive, beguiling legato. Continue reading Australian Chamber Orchestra in Concert with guest artist Emmanuel Pahud

FEELING GOOD WITH FRANCES MADDEN : A MEMORABLE  SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BASEMENT

It was so good to be at the Basement again, Sydney’s legendary jazz venue. We were there to see Frances Madden and her Band.

This young lady of jazz has built up a really good following  and plenty of respect from her jazz peers.

Frances played two sets with about ten songs each bracket. She  had a warm, silky voice with great phrasing, was very deft on the piano, and had a good rapport with both her band and her audience.

Her concert was a winning mix of strong original material and lovely renditions of pop standards.

First for the original material. Some favourites. I loved the up tempo, jivey Haunting Melody, with rich saxophone and trumpet.

Two of her ballads stood out, I Will Remember You and The One Who Walks You Home, poems dedicated to those who have indelibly touched her  life. I Will Remember You featured lovely flugelhorn playing.

Francis’ cover versions featured some lovely arrangements – I  loved the way her voice caressed every nuance out of I Love Paris/ La Vie En Rose. Simply beautiful.

Her soulful, very catchy delivery of the Beatles classic Can’t Buy Me Love  was another highlight, as was her bluesy version of the Nina Simone classic Feeling Good.

During her second Set Frances included a rendition of ‘a song by a composer who died late last year.’ The song just happened to be Hallelujah, one of Leonard Cohen’s masterworks.

The audience which built up through the night lapped up every minute of the concert. We were all sad to see the concert finish. For her two encores she gave very bluesy versions of two pop standards, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Georgia On My Mind. Continue reading FEELING GOOD WITH FRANCES MADDEN : A MEMORABLE  SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BASEMENT

PRELUDE IN TEA : SONUS PIANO QUARTET @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

As part of the very popular Prelude In Tea series at the Independent Theatre. this was an intense passionate concert strikingly played by the Sonus Piano Quartet. This quartet takes its name from sonus, the Latin word derived from the Greek “tonos” that means “noise, sound”.

Formed in late 2011 by Brenda Jones, the Sonus Piano Quartet celebrates the art of sound production in their performances.  The Quintet features four master musicians : Australian Chamber Orchestra violinist, Aiko Goto, violinist Jacqui Cronin, Sydney Symphony Orchestra cellist, Timothy Nankervis and pianist, Brenda Jones.

The concert began with  Saint-Saëns Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 with its elegant swoops on the violin. Jones’ playing on the piano was assertive, and Nankervis’ cello paying was intense.

The second movement heard Jones on piano off to a spiky, emphatic start followed later by some flourishes.  There were some tango like dance rhythms,  and a vibrant discussion between the quartet led to a fiery, turbulent conclusion.

The third movement, a scherzo in rondo form, had an edgy start, and featured fast, scurrying playing on the viola and violin. The music pulsated – the piano had a fast, anxious mini solo, whilst the other instruments  commented. The music delicately evaporated to a pianissimo at the end. Continue reading PRELUDE IN TEA : SONUS PIANO QUARTET @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

PHILIP GLASS @ 80 : ANDREW CHUBB ON SOLO PIANO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

Andrew Chubb gave this Recital to celebrate Glass and his oeuvre last Sunday afternoon, 17th September, at the Independent theatre, Miller Street, North Sydney.

It was a masterful performance by him. Chubb is an Australian pianist composer and educator, the latter being via the Newcastle Conservatorium where he has been for the last 18 years. He is also a noted promoter of other contemporary composers and has premiered performances of their music.

Glass is a contemporary modernist composer, and his best works  are characterised by repetitive hypnotic rhythmic patterns which are often an underlay to striking melodic lines. The results tend to capture the insecurities and brittleness of today’s consciousness. Not surprisingly Glass’s  work has featured in a number of films, especially The Hours, the score for which earned him an Academy award nomination. Continue reading PHILIP GLASS @ 80 : ANDREW CHUBB ON SOLO PIANO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

ARCO : REVOLUTIONARY ROMANCE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

The Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) under the leadership of Australian musician and educator Richard Gill OAM performed its third and final concert for 2017 at the City Recital in Sydney on Sunday 17th September.

An exquisite Revolutionary Romance concert was performed by the ARCO Chamber Soloists. Fine chamber musicians passionately performed the sublime chamber works by Mozart and Spohr. They delivered the rich sounds, colours, ornamentation and textures on classical period strings played with heartfelt passion.

A real highlight was the basset clarinet played by the Australian star of this instrument Nicole Van Bruggen. I will remember her performance on this wonderful instrument and Mozart’sClarinet Quintet in A Major, K581’ for a long time. It is no wonder these superb musicians are so committed to delivering historically informed performances ‘HIP’ in such intimate settings.

The program began with Louis Sphor’s ‘String Sextet in C major Op. 140’ in Allegro Moderato. Spohr was German born with a reputation during the first half of the 19th century as a violin virtuoso, conductor, author, teacher and a prolific composer.  Spohr commented when he wrote this piece that his spirits were raised by the current events in Germany. He wrote upon the manuscript, “At the time of the glorious people’s revolution…& reawakening of Germany.” Continue reading ARCO : REVOLUTIONARY ROMANCE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

WAYNE TUNKS’ NEW PLAY ‘DIVA WARS’ @ THE NEW THEATRE

It’s such a lovely theatre time in Sydney in September. The weather is lovely and there is a plethora of lovely, reasonably priced shows as part of the Sydney Fringe. Doubly lovelerly, there is always something gay to be seen. The Queer Fringe, sequined blessings on the New Theatre for their stewardship, showcases community centred work.

And what do we get as part of the Queer Fringe? In the case of DIVA WARS, we get authenticity. There are seven men on stage here. Lovely looking each, I might say, and each holds dearly to a Diva who got them through … music to cry to, trial by media to find strength in and, not forgetting, style to emulate. Lemonade Salvation if you will. They sometimes fight among each other in a surprisingly aggressive laddish way, sometimes they speak directly to us but any didacticism is mitigated by vignettes which tell a story which brings all the characters together. And an inventive bit of audience participation in the middle. It’s pretty obvious that the on-stage characters are not the only Diva devotees. Continue reading WAYNE TUNKS’ NEW PLAY ‘DIVA WARS’ @ THE NEW THEATRE

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR : NATURE @ THE CONCOURSE

This was a stirring, thrilling concert of enormous range and vibrancy.

Under the dynamic, precise baton of guest conductor Matthew Wood the latest Willoughby Symphony  concert had the umbrella title NATURE.

First was Smetana’s symphonic tone-poem The Moldau, evoking the flow of the Moldau River from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. The piece is one of six works that form his cycle My Country .

The Moldua  is divided into eight sections and includes a village wedding, hunting horns and nymphs dancing in the moonlight. It began with bubbling flute and was mostly tumbling and flowing, the orchestra surging with shimmering violins and pulsating woodwind and a torrential tempestuous, crashing finale

Next came the presentation and announcement of the 2017 Young Composers award, presented by Willoughby Mayor Cr. Gail Giles-Gidney to Ella Macens for her work Flight. The APRA encouragement award went to Andrew Howes.

Ella Macens

With Macens in the audience the Orchestra performed a richly textured and multilayered rendition of her work. The piece began strongly  with pulsating percussion and striking woodwind. Most of the work was a conversation between the violins and the rest of the orchestra.

We then heard Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca by 2017 Composer-in-Residence, Daniel Rojas with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and mezzo-soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong.

Jenny Duck-Chong

This marks the final collaboration of Rojas with the Orchestra as composer in residence for this year.

The three powerful short pieces ranged from celebratory bells to silent mourning. Based on stories by Lorca the piece was conceived as a trilogy that celebrates the tragedy and triumph of love, innocence and unbridled passions.

The piece was full of dark, fiery Flamenco passion with staccato palmas and stamping rhythms, castanets and tambourine. Duck-Chong was compelling and charismatic, the Choir in fine form with a HUGE sound.

After interval we heard one of Australia’s most distinguished horn virtuosos, Hector McDonald, in a special guest appearance, performing Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11.

Strauss’ piece had a crashing strident opening with lush lyrical strings in the first movement and superb playing by McDonald, dominating the orchestral discussion.

The second movement was softer and more thoughtful with tentative woodwind and the final, third movement had darting flute and dark tumbling dramatic strings while the horn was rather bright and skittish. McDonald’s  playing was refined and glorious.

We were then privileged to hear as an encore a most unusual combination horn and harp in Dolci Pianti (Sweet tears) by J. Strauss Jnr. The horn with its showy flourishes rather dominated the flowing, rippling harp, as played by Meriel Owen.

The Orchestra performed one more piece in the encore. This was Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78. full of varying moods, warm strings and delicious woodwind. At times it was strident bombastic and loud, with scurrying strings, or conversely softly creeping with cat like tread, at other times jaunty and dynamic, or rich, ominous and exotic. Under Wood’s baton the Orchestra was extremely well balanced and played with gusto in a thrilling performance.

Running time – roughly 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir in NATURE played the Concourse Chatswood on the 16th and 17th September 2017.

Program :-
Smetana’s The Moldau
Ella Macens Flight
Daniel Rojas Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca
Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11
Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78.

For more about the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra visit http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/willoughby-symphony/

THE METROPOLITAN ORCHESTRA: ‘EXTRAORDINARY FIRSTS’ @ ABC CENTRE

Above: TMO Composer Development Programme finalist, Nigel Ubrihien. His work Mestizo Suite was premiered at this concert. Featured image-Artistic Director Sarah-Grace Williams conducts TMO.

TMO’s most recent Met Concert was a consistently stunning event. Mahler’s massive Symphony Number 1 in D major and the world premiere of a new Australian work, Nigel Ubrihien’s Mestizo Suite, fleshed out this programme.

 This intense concert experience without interval celebrated the ingenuity of both composers, not scared to push the boundaries of the traditional symphonic genre with their high level of imagination and communicative skill.
The inclusion of Nigel Ubrihien’s work was due to him being a finalist in TMO’s Composer Development Programme. This significant project with contemporary Australian composers benefits the musical community at large and brings new music to audiences, satisfyingly premiered by TMO.
Ubrihien’s compact yet expressive  work was not dwarfed by the Mahler symphony. They rather bounced off each other because of the similar way, years apart,  the two composers approached the unearthing of narrative content or emotion as well as creating a keen sense of place.
The musing of Mahler as we follow his ‘wayfarer’ character are mirrored to an extent in Ubrihien’s thought-provoking study of variety, colour and the possibilities of multiculturalism in Mexico and Australia by extension.
TMO’s precise realisation of gesture in Ubrihien’s new work ensured characters and feelings were both clearly conveyed  and cleanly delivered. Penetrating outbursts of drama were always on standby. Such an approach made for a very effective premiere of this suite, and a smooth segue to the sensory smash hit  of the much anticipated Mahler First followed with  its epic tale to be told.
With regards to the impressive or ‘Extraordinary First ‘ of TMO performing the Mahler 1 with an extended band of over ninety players, it would be incorrect to just describe the efforts displayed as a rite of passage or ‘coming of age’ moment. The standard of orchestral playing witnessed and conductor Sarah-Grace William’s interpretation of the work’s complex flux was simply too mature and assured for the weakness of such labels.
The continued confidence on show and elevated nature of the performance rather showed TMO to have matured some time ago. The navigation through the score and extra musical concerns to paint this sprawling story in exquisite colours put TMO’s established talents up in lights.  The orchestra delivered Mahler which was full of substance and successful subtleties, nicely carved lines and portions of pure quirkiness.
This was a generous interpretation of the score but resisted all temptations to overplay. When exposed solo lines and fragments flicked across the orchestral backdrops they were exquisitely vulnerable but eloquent and firm from all soloists involved.
The symphony’s opening movement contained an exquisite restraint and control. There were many pleasing moments of seamless and hushed exposition. From this finely sculptured platform,  glorious climaxes then unfolded organically whether all of a sudden or following an admirably gauged and prolonged build up. Percussionists, timpanists, horns  and harpist in particular crowned many tutti moments with scintillating filigree and sheer power.
Mahler’s fine sense of experimentation with melodic development, form and tone colour was handled here with caricature and with his trademark dark humour intact.  This composer’s sense of surprise was present, making the listening experience literally an edge-of-the-seat one.
The approach to the borrowing of the tune to ‘Frère Jacques’, hauntingly suggested in this venue by solo double bass, was developed through interesting guises across the huge orchestra. Such entries  were never restless, perfunctory or off-hand.
In this way there was no aimless wandering on behalf of TMO throughout  either work in this concert. The degree to which they worked as a team to present this work in a direct and straightfoward manner also allowed for a  magical array of colours and the tracing of large trajectories with interesting sonic effects. This was quite a masterful and  accomplished orchestral execution.
The next Met Concert on 25 November promises to entertain also. There is more New Music, the Rodrigo Guitar Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No 3.

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HAYDN MOZART AND FRIENDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

In this latest terrific concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO), the program for the evening consisted of four works, concentrating on the Classical period.

The concert began with a rarely heard Sinfonia by Mozart’s friend Christian Cannabich, who led  the renowned Mannheim court orchestra  which was to the 18th century what the Berlin Philharmonic is to today. Then there were two works by Mozart, and a Haydn cello concerto, superbly played by ABO principal Jamie Hey.

The Orchestra had as many composers as players in their ensemble and it set the standard for others to follow, increasing the orchestral range and nuance by their introduction of innovative bowing techniques and the use of rhythm and ascending climaxes which became known as the “Mannheim Rocket”.

The entire ABO was in fine, golden form as energetically led by the very enthusiastic Paul Dyer who was close to dancing whilst conducting on fortepiano.

The concert began with the rarely heard Sinfonia in E-Flat major by Cannabich that gave the concert a brisk, emphatic, sprightly start.

Then came Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb:1 with ABO soloist Jamie Hey on period cello playing with great articulateness and polish. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HAYDN MOZART AND FRIENDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

The latest thrilling concert as part of the Live at Lunch series featured the artistic director renowned flautist Jane Rutter and special guests pianists Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt.

Kevin Hunt is a jazz pianist-composer who has performed regularly in the Sydney jazz scene since 1979. Hunt currently performs regularly with vocalist Emma Pask and pianist Simon Tedeschi and is a lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music.

All three were obviously having a hugely enjoyable time as did the packed audience.

The stage was mostly bare apart from a large projection screen and two shiny black pianos facing one another.

Rutter wore a glittering gold and yellow outfit and the two men were dressed in suits.

The concert opened with a medley based on Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, a witty dialogue between the two pianos with its catchy, syncopated beats. The second piece was floating shimmering and delicate, rippling and romantic. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

PATTI CAKE$ : A UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE

Like 8 Mile out of Precious, PATTI CAKE$ is a rock solid cinematic rap to dreams, aspirations and perseverance.

Written, directed, and with original music and songs by Geremy Jasper, the film stars Danielle Macdonald, an Australian actress fallen on her feet in the American film market.

Macdonald plays the titular Patti Cake$, a Jersey girl tending bar, doing casual catering gigs, and dreaming of making it in the music business as a rap artist. Patti’s rich inner life is depicted in hallucinatory sequences that turn classic hip-hop tropes into surreal dreams, giving the film a delightful dose of cinematic splendour. Continue reading PATTI CAKE$ : A UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM : SPRING PARTY @ AMBUSH GALLERY WATERLOO

The good  folk at the Ambush Gallery in Waterloo are inviting members of the public along to their Spring Party where you enjoy free food, drink and music and listen to some lightning talks by local identities who started at the very bottom and have become success stories in their own right.

The talks will be given by Camilla Gulli, Content Marketing Lead at Vodaphone AustraliaAdam Jacobs, Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Iconic, Mary HuangFounder of The Indigo Project and Caroline Shields, Co-Founder of Be An Unfucker.

The event will take place at the Ambush Gallery, 4 James Street, Waterloo between 6-9 pm on the 22nd September.

For more about Spring Mixer and to rsvp-  http://ga.co/spring-mixer
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ThE OMEGA ENSEMBLE PRESENTS ‘A BRAHMS AFFAIR’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

Prior to the performance there was a pre-concert talk by Mark Grandison. His exposition of the works by Borodin and Brahms was by itself worth attending…highly illuminating without lapsing into a dirge of technicalities.  

The Omega Ensemble is another nascent rising star on the Australian Music Scene. It was founded in 2005 and Simone Young is its current patron. Much loved composer George Palmer is also a supporter.

The program commenced with Schumann’s Fantasiestucke for Clarinet and Piano. Maria Rospopova at the piano  (she is  co Artistic Director of the Ensemble with David Rowden)  sensitively accentuated the light and shadow of this piece frantically composed by Schumann in just two days. Continue reading ThE OMEGA ENSEMBLE PRESENTS ‘A BRAHMS AFFAIR’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

MADISON MCKOY IN ‘YANK DOWN UNDER’ @ CITY RECITAL HALL

 

After a sold-out concert with his band at Sydney’s Factory Floor, Madison McKoy is getting back to basics with a piano and voice performance in his show YANK DOWN UNDER in their new late night cabaret style event 2 x 20 – September Edition.

In this concert you will be taken on a musical journey through Madison’s life growing up in America’s South.

You will hear about his days working in the tobacco fields, superstitions, church, family and haircuts. You might also  recognise songs by James Ingram, Burt Bacharach and Madison himself.

Madison has performed in the musical “Buddy”, “Miss Saigon”, “Sweet Charity” and “What The World Needs Now”.

His film roles include ‘Blood Money”, “2:22”, “South Pacific”, and “Looking For Natalie Wood”.

Madison performs around the traps to promote his soul/rnb CDs “10th Child” (2005) and “Deep Within” (1999). This guy also runs and directs The 8-Week Choir and he teaches English to speakers of other languages.

Doors open at 9:00 pm on Thursday 14 September. Performance is between 10-11pm. $10- no booking fee. The event is 18yrs+

http://www.madisonmckoy.com

For more about MADISON MCKOY in Yank Down Under @ 2 x 20 City Recital Hall Sydney, visit https://tickets.cityrecitalhall.com/single/SelectSeating.aspx?p=3634
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Frances Madden and Band : Jazz, Blues & Classics Show @ The Basement

She has been described as ‘Australia’s rising star of jazz and blues’ by Fine Music 102.5 FM. The Basement is welcoming back singer and piano player Frances Madden with her band with what is likely to be another sell-out show.

It has been a busy time for Frances. In the past year, she has supported the legendary Dionne Warwick and also Grammy Award-winner Gregory Porter in their Sydney concerts, headlined at the JZ Club in Shanghai and also attracted a crowd of around 1,500 people at the Manly Jazz Festival.

Sydney radio station Fine Music 102.5 FM announced Frances as their Stefan Kruger Award winner for 2017.

Frances’ show at The Basement is the first of eight in an East Cost tour that takes in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and finishes at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. Continue reading Frances Madden and Band : Jazz, Blues & Classics Show @ The Basement

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER CHOIR @ ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL CRYPT

Above: Tom Henry, composer of the commissioned work, Uncertain Journeys. Featured Image:  The Australian Chamber Choir.

Fear. Invasion. Displacement. Isolation. These are emotions which have been experienced by peoples under violent siege from Biblical times right through to modern day refugees. Vocal protests, outcries or laments are believable reactions of victims trapped in such crystallised crises.

In this most recent internationally-toured concert, Australian Chamber Choir Musical Director Douglas Lawrence created a sequence of a capella choral music to highlight text-setting dealing with such anguish.

This musical offering used a well-structured programme centred around the sorrowful cries of the ancient Israelites forced into Babylonia. The phrase ‘By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept’ was in keeping with the erssence of other collectively programmed works. It was expanded to include other types of persecution, fear and loss of place, as the music sung highlighted the plight of such human condition, always giving it a superb choral voice. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER CHOIR @ ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL CRYPT

Master class with acclaimed guitarist Richard Smith at Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Featured photo – Richard Smith.

Internationally acclaimed guitarist, and professor at the School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Richard Smith will be holding a free Master Class at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Monday 4 Sept. The Free and open to the public; bookings not required.

THE DETAILS 

Richard Smith’s Master Class  will take place on Monday  4th September at City Recital Hall East Level 1 Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

For more about Master class with acclaimed guitarist Richard Smith at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, visit http://music.sydney.edu.au/events/masterclass-richard-smith-04-09-2017
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AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : ‘MOUNTAIN’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

This event, a collaboration between the ACO and Jennifer Peeedom , will leave you overawed and breathless at the savage beauty of nature and music. It is in a similar vein to the ACO’s 2012 multimedia project The Reef it is full of stunning visuals (the film is directed by Peeedom with Renan Ozturk as principal photographer) and also features bravura playing by the ACO in dazzling form as led by Tognetti, who has some dramatic , shimmering and fiery solos.

The work is an epic exploration of the often fraught relationship between humans and mountains which really began with the Romantics. The film is narrated by Willem Dafoe, with text written by Robert Macfarlane – whose book Mountains of the Mind inspired Peedom’s approach to this project.

The film itself is a poetic rumination on humans’ relationship with mountains and explores the nature of our modern fascination with mountains – WHY are we so captivated by them? but there is little detail conveyed in the narration – Although some of the issues explored in Peedom’s 2014 film Sherpa are briefly mentioned – instead , Dafoe asserts broad ideas for which the film provides breathtaking images. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : ‘MOUNTAIN’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HAYDEN, MOZART AND FRIENDS @ THE JOAN

There will be music in the air this Spring when the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra arrives in Penrith.

Casting back to the days when good mates, orchestra conductor Haydn and freelance composer Mozart would get together for pop-up gigs with brilliant results – two admiring friends, performing impromptu concerts together. Fast forward 250-odd years to two relatively new friends – a Belgian period horn player, Bart Aerbeydt and Australia’s leading baroque cellist, Jamie Hey.

Witness the results when excellence from the two eras comes together. A chance to let brilliance shine. The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra musicians join Bart and Jamie and put their signature style on some glorious classics as they bring to life the original colours of Baroque and Classical masterpieces from centuries ago, with the beautiful sound of instruments of the period.

The Brandenburg invites you to discover the exquisite music of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in a whole new way. The orchestra, with the help of charismatic Artistic Director Paul Dyer, will take you back to a historical era full of passion, electrifying vitality and artistic excellence.

“What stands out at concert after concert is the impression that this bunch of musicians is having a really good time. They look at each other and smile, they laugh…there’s a warmth and sense of fun not often associated with classical performance”,  Sydney Morning Herald.

Enjoy the elegance of The Joan’s Borland Lounge before the show, as it shines in salon style. You might even like to take the experience a step further and dress in your finest formal evening attire for a truly memorable night in the Concert Hall.

Let the Brandenburg sweep you off your feet on a Spring night to remember. Book your tickets now for a performance you won’t forget.

THE PROGRAM:
Cannabich Sinfonia in E-Flat major
Haydn Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb:1
Mozart Harmoniemusik of Die Entführung aus dem Serail –
Mozart Concerto for Horn No. 4 in E flat major K495

Tickets: Standard $70 Concession $65

To book call our Box Office on 4723-7600 or

http://www.thejoan.com.au.

This will be a night to remember. The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre is located at 597 High Street, Penrith. Nearby parking and public transport is available.

AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE : MOZART’S OBOE AND THE HUNT

“All the jolly chase is here
With hawk and horse and hunting-spear,
Hounds are in their couples yelling,
Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling…”

Hunting Song by Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)

The Australian Haydn Ensemble is garnering an iconic reputation as one of Australia’s best chamber music performers.

Their performance last Sunday of works by Haydn Mozart Janitsch was a sell out event. It was held in the Utzon Room of the Opera House..an intimate setting looking out past the opal blue bay of Farm Cove towards Mrs Macquarie’s chair.

The program derived its inspiration in part from the 18th century fascination with the Hunt, in particular Haydn’s Op1 No.1string Quartet “La Chaisse”. Also in the program was an Oboe Quartet in G Minor By Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, an eighteenth century German Composer whose prolific output of chamber and orchestral symphonic works is beginning to be recognised.

The performance featured some some sterling performances by its members..in particular violinist Simone Slattery whose playing with a baroque bow and  infectious enthusiasm breathed life and vitality into both the Janitsch and the Mozart String Quartet. Anthony  Albrecht’s cello playing gave the concert depth and incisiveness. Mozart’s Oboe Quartet, composed to show off the virtuosic talents of his friend Friedrich Ramm, was effortlessly played by Amy Power, indicating the profound evolution of the instrument and its technique over the past few hundred years. The Janitsch was a moody and reflective work, interesting and quite uncharacteristic of the era.

The occasion also was one of maternal celebration for Skye McIntosh the founder and Artistic Director of the ensemble, who had recently had a child…coincidentally as pointed out by the cellist Anthony Albrecht, both the string quartets the ones by Haydn and Mozart which buttressed the program, were in b flat major, a key said to reflect hope and optimism  …a motherhood key!

 

BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL @ THE HAYES

Over last weekend I went and checked out Queenie Van De Zandt’s cabaret tribute show, BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL.

This was a touching low key, small scale tribute show to one of the most respected figures in popular music. Hopefully one day a fully fledged tribute show/musical will be mounted along the lines of  the current Broadway musical Beautiful : The Carole King Musical,  currently playing around Australia. Mitchell is certainly deserving of it.

All her big songs got a whirl. The concert started with on a sublime note with Queenie’s incisive version of the title song from Mitchell’s most personal, compelling album.

BIG YELLOW TAXI was given a rousing rendition. A gentle version of THE CIRCLE GAME saw Queenie ask the audience to sing along, which of-course we were dying to do. Continue reading BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL @ THE HAYES

SONGS OF MY COUNTRY @ THE CONCERT HALL, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and the Vienna Boys’ Choir come together for an exciting world-first collaboration to perform Songs of My Country, a unique celebration of culture and language.

Vienna Boys’ Choir will travel to Australia to perform two uplifting concerts with Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir in Sydney, NSW on October 10 and Cairns, QLD on October 13.

The exclusive concerts will feature Australian and Austrian compositions, including the world premiere of a work by Australian composer Owen Elsley written in collaboration with Gudju Gudju of the Gimuy Walibara Yidinji, the Traditional Owners of Cairns (Gimuy).

The new composition, Boori Guman, is based on a local traditional story about the origin of fire and will be performed in English and Gimuy Walibara Yidinji language by the combined ensembles.

The Sydney concert will be held at Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on Tuesday, 10 October at 7pm, featuring the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Sydney Children’s Choir.

The concert is suitable for all ages and will feature choral music for young voices that highlights the singing traditions of each choir.

For more information and tickets, please visit www.gondwana.org.au/whats-on

DATE FOR THE DIARY
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 between 7:00pm and 9:30pm at the Sydney Opera House.

For more about Songs of My Country Sydney, visit http://www.gondwana.org.au/whats-on
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MYRCZEK AND TOMASZEWSKI @ THE BASEMENT

This multi-award winning duo has been created by two young, but already widely acclaimed jazz musicians from Poland, singer Wojciech Myrczek and pianist Pawel Tomaszewski.

The strength of the duo lies in collaboration of two individuals who exude charisma, musical ingenuity and attention to every sonic detail. They engage in a musical dialogue not refraining from ambitious song or crazy improvisation, always adding a touch of humour.

During their dialogue, these artists perform jazz and pop standards that in their interpretation gain a previously unknown form of musical sound. Myrczek & Tomaszewski is without a doubt one of the most interesting voice and piano duos of the past decade.

DATE FOR THE DIARY
Tuesday 8th August 2017 at 7:00pm at the Basement.

For more about Myrczek & Tomaszewski (Poland) @ The Basement, visit http://www.moshtix.com.au//v2/event/myrczek-tomaszewski-poland/96455?ref=calendar&skin=291
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QUEEN : IT’S A KINDA MAGIC @ THE STATE THEATRE

It is no easy task to recreate legendary British rock band Queen, led by the uniquely quirky and charismatic Freddie Mercury on lead vocals and piano. The four piece tribute act showcased a selection of Queen’s best known and lesser known songs capturing the distinct fusion of progressive rock and operatic parody with elements of heavy metal.

A large crowd of fans gathered around the glimmering State Theatre entrance doors, made up of die hard Queen fans of the 70’s and 80’s through to whole families of second and third generation Queen fanatics. The ornate and majestic State Theatre was transformed into a rock concert hall featuring a grungy, stripped-back stage with elevated drum kit platform centre stage.  

Starring the energetic Giles Taylor as Freddie Mercury, audience members were invited to stand up, clap and dance from the get go but took a while to warm up; it seemed that the formality of the venue didn’t lend itself so well to the participatory, laidback style of a rock concert. Fortunately the band’s excellent musicianship alongside dramatic lighting design and Giles’ wonderfully camp costumes, made for an engaging and impressive show. Continue reading QUEEN : IT’S A KINDA MAGIC @ THE STATE THEATRE