14 April 2013
I attended two rehearsals the other day. One was for a CIMF gig and it was run as a mini concert for friends of the Festival although with a good deal of chatter and friendly banter. The other was a proper rehearsal, all stops and starts and lounging between tunes and no audience.
First was the Canberra International Music Festival gig. The performers were Louise Page, Chris Latham, David Pereira and Tamara Anne Cislowska. The venue was the Ainslie Arts Centre, which is riddled with musical activity so there were sounds of practising or lessons seeping through at times. We could only hear it in the breaks and it didn’t really interfere. In fact, along with the casual dress of the performers, it gave a lovely feeling of industry and musical purpose. The players mixed in various combinations for songs and compositions by a string of woman composers and two males. The theme was “In praise of the feminine” and it’s a major theme for this coming CIMF. Chris gave a wide-ranging introduction: the historical impropriety of women composing; the architectural work of Marion Mahoney Griffin; the association of coffee and musical tempo; the importance of encouragement in musicians’ lives; the sourcing of manuscripts of lesser known composers from archives; relationships to suffragettes, WW1, Yin/Yang, French impressionism and more. They played songs by Amy Beach; a lovely nocturne by Lily Boulanger; an impressionist piece called Midsummer moon by Rebecca Clarke (my favourite); Elena Kats-Chernin’s Blue silence, unusually dedicated to the parents of schizophrenics (Megan’s favourite); Phyllis Campbell and more Rebecca Clarke. We had to leave before the men displayed their feminine side, so we missed David Pereira’s Mt Ainslie rising and Ross Edwards’ Lost man. Unfortunate.
There were nibbles and drinks and Helen representing the C100 Musical Offering. What a superb interlude: capable musicians presenting some very obscure music in a casual space with a fascinating commentary. And nice wines. Chris Latham (violin), Louise Page (soprano), David Pereira (cello) and Tamara Anne Cislowska (piano) praised the feminine in music.