Friday, 31 October 2014

November Gig Guide

A mouse will find himself inside the Perth Concert Hall this Sunday. His name is Maximus Musicus, and his adventure will be narrated by Stephen Fry and the WA Symphony Orchestra with help I'm sure from the hundreds of enthralled children in the audience.

In a slightly different realm WASO will also accompany Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova (familiar from a visit with the ACO in 2008) performing Sibelius's concerto on the 14th & 15th plus deliver timeless classics from the movies on November 21st & 22nd conducted by film music legend Richard Kaufmann. The orchestra's busy month (they are also performing in the pit for Il Trovatore which finishes its season on the 8th) concludes with two chamber music concerts of Serenades on the 28th & 30th and will be accompanying pop artist Ben Folds on the 28th & 29th.

Violinist Ray Chen and pianist Timothy Young tour with Musica Viva on 6th November and the Australian String Quartet will bring Sculthorpe, Stanhope and Mendelssohn with them on November 10th.

The St George's Cathedral Consort are escaping the cathedral for an open air concert (summer must be nearly here!) at the Fremantle Arts Centre with Sara Macliver on the 13th. Also in Fremantle Roland Brand will perform Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra on Nov 23rd. 

For something with a twist check out Michael Schumaer performing his Dans Le Jardin series with cellist Alex Waterman, referencing the music of J.S. Bach. They will perform in the courtyard of the State Theatre Centre on 28th & 29th November as part of the Mini Move Me Improvisation Festival.

Monday, 27 October 2014

UWA Hackett Concert

Audience members sat on beanbags reading their programs by phone light in the Hackett Ensemble’s latest concert. The semi-darkness was filtered by soft red and blue lighting and in the gaps between performances mellow DJ music filled the room. It was a calming way to begin the weekend and it the performers seemed relaxed too.

The original "Dream House", New York

Music students from the University of Western Australia had set up the Calloway Auditorium as a Dream House, named after the loft where La Monte Young and other New York artists perform music 24 hours a day. In the spirit of the Dream House the audience were invited to arrive and leave at their own discretion. Of course they didn’t, instead sitting politely throughout the duration which was easy to do because the performers were mostly excellent.

Philip Glass’s early work Strung Out (1967) was performed with hypnotically smooth tone by violinist Andrew Ngooi. Two pieces from the eighties continued the minimalist th
eme: Glass’s Facades, performed rather laboriously by string quartet and two saxophones, and an inspiring rendition of Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint for clarinet and pre-recorded tape by Ben Power. Michael Lowenstein’s more recent Ten Children No 4 (2013) was built around charming melodies in the bass clarinet (played sweetly by Blake Howieson) echoed moments later on tape.

Eduardo Cossio, a composition student from the WA Academy of Performing Arts, conducted his own work Music For Oswaldo, an energetic and good humoured instrumental piece combining minimalist ideas with dance music from Peru.

The night concluded with an improvisation from the multi-talented Ben Power, who also coordinated the concert. Power performed barefoot using a pedal rig to add a wash of electronic effects to his clarinet twiddles and groans. His engaging improvisation ended after just minutes – I was hoping for at least a few hours in true Dream House style. None of the other performers ventured far beyond traditional performance conventions either, unlike Young whose practice questions the definition of music and often involves performance art. A missed opportunity in an otherwise satisfying concert.

This review copyright The West Australian newspaper 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

Beaufort Street Books Soiree

Unfortunately this event has been postponed until next year. I will keep you posted with details as soon as I have been informed of the next date.

Beaufort Street Books is the perfect place for a Soiree.

 The store is cosy and inviting and I know I will feel confident surrounded with wall to wall books! The staff are just as excited as me and they have even organised a local female wine presenter who will be hosting some free wine tasting.

BSB is a bookstore that has become the hub of a community. If you haven't checked it out you MUST - pop in for Saturday Yoga, or a movie night or some literary speed dating! There is so much going on her. Even better come to their Literary Lounge Tuesday 21st October to hear me share the music and stories from Women of Note while you enjoy some wine!

Go to the Literary Lounge website for details or call 08 61427996 to reserve your place. Events often sell out so be quick!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Invitation to TANGO

"If we are lucky in life we experience a few extraordinarily wonderful things," says Perth luthier Graham Hawkes. He has just produced an album of new Australian guitar music and is quietly proud of its significance.

Graham Hawkes

Album cover: Invitation to Tango

"All the contributors to this recording were unhesitating and positive in their response to my request for a couple of new tangos. It took awhile to gather the courage to ask them but I think age strengthened my resolve. The result is a splendid recording of 14 new tangos for guitar."

Graham is a guitar enthusiast who has dedicated his retirement to perfecting his skills as a guitar maker. The tango is one of Graham's favourite styles of music and gets regular air time on Plucked Strings, the radio program he hosts on RTRFM 92.1. Graham's enthusiasm for the dance has been constrained only by the limited amount of tango repertoire for guitar. So with the quiet determination he went about commissioning an album of new tangos for the guitar.

Rosette with Aboriginal inspired decoration (G. Hawkes)
cedar soundboard (G Hawkes)

The Australian composers featured on the album are Alan Banks, Philip Bracanin, Rohan Jayasinghe, Krzystof Piotrowicz, Ruth Roshan, Mardae Selepak, Owen Thomson and Mark Viggiani. The compositions reflect the diverse backgrounds of the composers making a compelling mix. The technical flamboyance of Alan Banks' free improvisation, the sunny warmth of Ruth Roshan's mandolin, the stillness of Owen Thomson's Midnight Tango and the luxurious Russian Romani sound of Krzystof Piotrowicz are some of the stand outs.

Composers and performers featured in Invitation to Tango

The recordings are high quality made by the composers themselves supplemented by guitarists Tania Ravbar Constantino and Stephanie Jones and clarinettist Catherine Cahill.

Hooray for an all-Australian album of such great quality. Invitation to TANGO can be sampled here and purchased from Paypal for $15.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Gig Guide October

I like the idea of music being a language.
In the Liquid Architecture concert this week international sound artists Alessandro Bosett, Makiko Yamamoto, Id M Theft Able examine the point at which language becomes music and music becomes a language. October 6th at PICA Main Gallery Space.

Also on the 6th the Borodin String Quartet return to Perth with Musica Viva, performing Shostakovich and Beethoven at the Perth Concert Hall.

On October 14th the WA Symphony Orchestra are trialling an unusual project called The Rusty Orchestra which gives amateur players the experience of working alongside professionals and preparing a concert. WASO's other standard concerts this month include the world premiere of Carl Vine's Concerto for orchestra and Michael Collins in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto on Oct 10/11th. A concert of Liszt featuring Piers Lane is on the 17th/18th and at the end of the month the orchestra will be in the pit for the WA Opera's Il Trovatore, which opens Oct 30th.

The WA Academy of Performing Arts is also presenting an opera this month; Hansel and Gretel opens on the 11th October. And on October 30th Geoffrey Lancaster, whom I remember as an inspired early music lecturer and fiery fortepianist, will give an all-Mozart recital at WAAPA.

On October 24th the University of Western Australia's new music group Ensemble Hackett will be performing works for solo instruments in unusual locations around UWA, in a program aptly titled 'Wandering'.

On October 29th the Australian Chamber Orchestra will perform an all-Beethoven program including Beethoven's Triple Concerto.