02 October 2014


First concert of the day was a Lunchbox concert at the ANU School of Music. These are students, presumably at different stages of their training, performing a varied repertoire on diverse instruments. What's not like. Aaron Chew (piano) started with Fantasia Baetica by Manuel de Falla. This was a substantial work, virtuosic, exciting, passionate. He mentioned the sounds of guitar, footstamps and female vocals (this is Spanish music). Aaron played with confidence the waves of notes with crossing hands and several passages of a quizzical dissonance. I loved this piece and I thought he did an excellent job on it. Then Jelena Mamic (soprano) sang four Canti di lontananza by Menotti with accompaniment by Anne Ewing (piano). This was intense, vibratoed high notes (lyric soprano? dramatic soprano), glorious tone but inevitably intelligible. I wonder why classical singing is so often unintelligible; words seem a key to songs. The passion fitted for Gli amanti impossibili; Jelena lightened up for Il settimo bicchiere di vino; I wondered if Mattinata di neve was a bit heavy. The voice is glorious if the themes are mostly lost, but this is classical vocals. Next was another singer, Jade McFaul (voice) with accompaniment by Tristan Struve (piano) performing Who points the swallow by Alan Tragaskis. This is a modern piece in English. I caught a word or two but may have caught more with more concentration. One stanza ended in "arrogance" so the theme piques interest. Jade has a gentler, less insistent voice: she still enforced and vibratoed some notes, but mostly this was more intimate. Elizabeth Biggs (harp) followed with Krumpholtz Sonata Scene Pathetique Op.16 no.1. The soft, finger-picked tone of harp and the instrumental balance of melody and harmony was a change after the singers. Also the references to lament and pathos that comes with the title; although not miserable or pitiable. Last was Hamish Strathdee (guitar) playing Rodrigo's Junto al Generalife. Again, the finger-picked pluck of nylon strings; again, the Spanish connection. Every guy my age has toyed with guitar, so this had some technical interest. I enjoyed the picking that I could watch so closely, like the thumbed melody against fingered triplets on the G string (interesting if perhaps a common enough classical guitar technique). I heard it as genial and moderate, but it's about a garden (Junto not Junta) at the Alhambra, so that's apt. So this was the concert. About an hour of varied music, varied musicians, varied instruments and tones. Apparently the Lunchbox concerts are returning and now that I have time, I hope to get to a few. A great pleasure.

Aaron Chew (piano), Jelena Mamic (soprano), Anne Ewing (piano), Jade McFaul (voice), Tristan Struve (piano), Elizabeth Biggs (harp) and Hamish Strathdee (guitar) performed in the Larry Sitsky Room at the ANU School of Music for a (free) Lunchbox concert.


Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, Jelena is not a lyric soprano, she's a young dramatic soprano.

Eric Pozza said...

Thanks ... for the advice and also for having a read. Eric