Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Music Monday August 2

 WASO is pulling out Mahler (again!) this time with Principal Conductor Paul Daniel (Fri 24 & Sat 25th Aug)  conducting Mahler Symphony No 5 plus a nice little feature of  WASO's concertmaster Guilio Plotino and principal viola Giovanni Pasini in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra. The following weekend (Fri 31st and Sat 1st Sept) guest conductor Robert Spano takes on an exotic Arabian Nights themed program with Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Saint Saens' Piano Concerto no 5 with Steven Hough as soloist. For something completely different vocal ensemble Rajaton will feature with WASO in an ABBA tribute on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th.

Voyces promise more vocal bliss on Sunday 25th with an all-Australian program celebrating our cultural and natural landscape. On Wednesday 29 Aug WAAPA launch their Percussion Purity Festival with an opening concert which will include George Crumb's Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III), Berio's Linea and others.

And audiences continue to pack out St Georges' Cathedral, this time on Thursday Aug 30th to hear international concert organist Dr John Scott (New York) performing the annual Francis Burt Memorial organ recital.
Decibel ensemble are keeping busy this year with another gig this time paying tribute to Australian new music legend Jon Rose with a program called Music on a String.
The two highlights for me though are the WA season  of Deborah Cheetham's Pecan Summer - Australia's first indigenous opera, opening September 6th. Also Margaret Blades (WASO associate concert master) will lead Swan Virtuosi in their second gig. Watch this space for more info on this dream ensemble which also includes Sally Boud and Louise McKay.

Friday, 17 August 2012

new music is back at WASO!

WASO @ Astor Theatre

This review copyright The West Australian 2012

Judging by the sell-out crowd at the inaugural Latitude series I’m not the only one who thinks the return of the WA Symphony Orchestra’s new music concerts is long overdue. Artistic planning team Evan Kennea and principal conductor Paul Daniel masterminded a winning combination of art house venue and edgy program for the opening concert. The retro Astor Theatre provided a relaxed vibe with clean acoustics and just enough space to squeeze the eighty-piece orchestra dressed in jeans and black shirts.

The two musical centrepieces were written in memory of the dead. British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Kai put the spotlight on associate principal cellist Louise McKay. The twenty-five year old is one of an increasing number of young players bringing zing to the orchestra. McKay’s assured playing wandered easily from sweet anguish to dark aggression and swinging jazz. The accompanying ensemble made smooth work of Turnage’s swinging atonality (references to Charles Mingus) and darkly elegiac moments.

John Lennon and Anton Webern were the subjects of James Ledger’s Two Memorials. Pithy Webern-esque stabs of sound progressed into a flute duet recognisable as the opening riff from the Strawberry Fields. Lennon quotes were dissected against a pre-recording (played in reverse) of the Webern section in a tribute to the Beatle’s pioneering work in the studio. With light-hearted moments and vivid dramatic impact Two Memorials is one of Ledger’s most engaging works.

Two of electric guitarist Frank Zappa’s orchestral works filled out the program with complexity (The Perfect Stranger) and a flashback to eighties psychedelic rock (G-Spot Tornado) while Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Helix was an intense concert opener. All the works on the program were Australian premieres except for Two Memorials which won the Arts Music best performance award when premiered by WASO last year.

In each piece the orchestra was impressive, nailing tricky rhythmic subdivisions, secure in pitch extremes and injecting atmosphere into every moment. Kennea’s witty introductions and Daniel’s coherent conducting meant the meaty program really didn’t feel like hard work. Provocative, fun and world class, this was an exciting addition to Perth’s new music scene.

Latitude festival concludes 8pm Saturday Astor Theatre.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Paul Kelly: pub singer and chamber musician?

Another cross-genre collaboration.
This time WA composer James Ledger and singer-songerwriter Paul Kelly.

I find it hard to imagine Kelly - an iconic Aussie pub singer - as the soloist in a song cycle. But that is what James Ledger is doing, wrapping a web of strings and ghostly recorder sounds around Kelly's steely voice.

The premiere is October in Sydney and Melbourne with rumours of a Perth tour. Here is a preview:

Monday, 6 August 2012

Music Monday - August

It is Monday again and time to celebrate another fortnight of classical music in Perth. August is another busy month. Here are the gigs for the next two weeks.

On Thursday 9th Club Zho is hosting Perth's young composers and the same night WAAPA's student orchestra and chorus perform Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah. Classic Brit Award-winner Tasmin Little is in town for the weekend to perform Bruch's Violin Concerto with WASO, Brahms' Fourth Symphony is also on the program. More Brahms on Sunday with the St George's Cathedral Consort singing the Liebeslieder Waltzes at Government House Ballroom.

 WASO are stretching their reach with their inagural new music festival Latitude. On Wednesday 15th they will take over Astor Cinema and perform works by James Ledfger, Essa-Pekka Salonen, Turnage and Frank Zappa. On Saturday local DJ Zeke will join them for Concerto for Turntables by Gabriel Prokofiev. Very cool.

If you'd rather stick with traditional then head to the concert hall on Wednesday 15th for the ACO's Beethoven Nine with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Or St George's Cathedral are doing a period instrument performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach's Magnificat on Friday 17th.

WAAPA students feature again on Thursday 16th - this time the percussion ensemble performing Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninov and Bernstein.

It has been awhile since the outrageous Geoffrey Lancaster has visited and he is giving a piano recital on Sunday 19th as part of the Keyed Up series at UWA.

It's a good mix of concerts this fortnight, hope you manage to enjoy a couple of them.