10 March 2013

Cocktail hour

The Canberra International Music Festival had its launch at the ANU School of Music and Megan and I got an invitation. This is an evening for mooching around, chatting, speeches, a few drinks and just a little music. Not that we knew too many people, so it wasn’t too long an outing. Musical director, Chris Latham, spoke of course, along with a government rep, Dorothy Danta, Robyn Archer and Gary France. I hoped to chat to Robyn Archer (we were at Adelaide University at the same time and I remember her from Uni reviews) but she only passed through. Chris introduced the program, and it looks great. Bach was claimed as the deceased composer-in-residence. No-one will quibble with that invitation. Pieter Wispelway is visiting to play the solo cello suites. There’s lots of original music and premieres and plenty of deliciously obscure music (at least to me). Chris highlighted Jesus’ blood by visiting UK composer-in-residence Gavin Bryars and there’s also a theme of connections to West Coast USA, including performances of (one of two) John Adams.

These launches always have a musical component. This time it was David Pereira playing his (as yet unfinished) Mt Ainslie rising, which is to be premiered at the festival: a duo of cello and piano (Kimberly Michael?) that I’d locate in the realm of impressionism or tone poems. He later played a piece written for him by Carl Vine 20 years ago and called Inner world. It’s cello played against a recorded soundtrack of mixed and effected clips of David playing cello, so it’s a duo of David Pereira with David Pereira, with the help of electronics. It was quite a contemporary effect with strong rhythms and attractive melodies. I liked it. CIMF is not a cheap outing (Gold pass for all events $590), but it’s intelligently and challengingly constructed and anything I’ve attended has been a joy. Sadly, I won’t get to nearly enough of it but I trust I’ll get to some.

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