Tag Archives: Michael Duke

PRELUDE IN TEA : THE NEXAS QUARTET ‘TANGO DE SAXOS’

 

This was a kind of perfect Sunday afternoon at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney.

With my friend I joined the throng of people gathered outside the Independent just before half two waiting for the theatre to open its doors. We didn’t have to wait long and we all entered to a beautifully laid on afternoon tea served by theatre staff.  There was a lovely selection of cakes to choose from,  to be enjoyed with a fragrant tea or brewed coffee.

By the time the clock turned half three we had all gathered inside the theatre to hear the performance. I was simply blown away by the concert by The Nexas Quartet, a quartet of saxophone players.  I couldn’t think of anything more enticing. I adore the saxophone!

The quartet, featuring soprano- Michael Duke, alto- Andrew Smith, tenor- Nathan Henshaw and baritone sax- Jay Byrnes , explored the Argentinean tango with their unique and inspiring performance of both arrangements and new works. Featured composers included Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Gardel, Gerardo Rodriguez and Fernando Lerman. The first half also included an interesting original work by Michael Duke.

After interval, they were accompanied on stage by two guest artists, brilliant pianist Dr Daniel Rojas and bandoneon (a similar instrument to the accordion) player Stephen Cuttress which only proved to fire up the Quartet even more as they blazed away on their saxophones.

The concert ended to very generous applause by the audience. The band members made themselves available for a chat in the foyer after the show which was a nice touch.

The next in the Prelude in Tea series will be The Streeton Trio  who will perform on Sunday 31 March at the Independent Theatre.  Put  it in your diary. A lovely afternoon tea and then the pleasure of  listening to some beautiful music in one of the finest theatres in Sydney makes for a  grand way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

https://www.theindependent.org.au/

https://www.nexasquartet.com

 

 

 

 

LIVE AT LUNCH : COMPOSERS IN EXILE

Opera star Peter Coleman-Wright

A most striking and unusual concert. part of the Live at Lunch series, ,Jane Rutter’s guests this time were the amazing Nexas Saxophone Quartet ( Michael Duke on soprano saxophone , Andrew Smith on alto saxophone , Nathan Henshaw on tenor Saxophone and Jay Byrnes on baritone Saxophone together with opera star Peter Coleman-Wright. The noteworthy rather unconventional arrangements were generally for the saxophone quartet and sometimes included Coleman-Wright on piano.

The concert specifically looked at cabaret works by composers from the Weimar Era to WWII, putting the works and the turbulence of the era in context and looking at how many of the Weimar composers, such as Weill, were driven into exile in the USA and the quartet played the role of various composers, introducing the audience members to their life stories and works – Henshaw evoked Franz Schreker, Byrnes became Hans Eisler, Smith portrayed Bertolt Brecht, while Duke was Robert Stolz. The quartet played with great energy and smooth precision full of virtuosity and fine ensemble work. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : COMPOSERS IN EXILE