23 March 2015

Two Salls

Sally Whitwell and Sally Greenaway performed for a special concert at the High Court. As Sally G said at the end, this is new music, composed by the two Sallys and performed with an array of very capable local performers.

First up was Sally Whitwell. She started with a solo piano piece, Reels, that floated then grew into heavy chords and rolling arpeggios then a call and answer between right and left hand, heavily spelt then lighter and quicker and responsive. Then Waltzing alone, pensive, and Road trip, recounting a trip along the coast north of Sydney, both duos of piano and violin. Winter love was Sally's first attempt at writing for string quartet, this time with piano; just gentle and lovely. Wicked Strings performed. Ad astra was performed with spoken and sung voice with cello and piano. It a lament to JS Bach recounting that three of his tunes were included on the sound recording with the Voyager spacecraft ( http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/music.html ). (Sally quoted Carl Sagan: "We could have just had Bach but that would have been showing off"). Then Some world far from ours, responding to a poem by Shelley. Then two with the surprisingly impressive and young Luminescence Chamber Choir, Echo and To your shore.

Second was Sally Greenaway. First up was Stay awhile for piano and choir, here Luminescence in 8 parts (they are 8 singers), on responding to adversity, and Katrimba, written in three for marimba but arranged for piano, cello and violin. Then three musical poems on solo piano and a commission sung by bass baritone Richard Baker to the theme of a poem by Pierre Louys. Summer beckons was a lyrical pastoral piece with Barbara Jane Gilby on violin. Interesting that both Sallys performed a piece referencing seasons: Winter love and Summer beckons. The Feud was written to poetry by Tanya Kiermaier with seven short movements separated by little poems. Then a piece of real emotion, San luiz, telling a story of a difficult time - I found it the most touching - and a final Encore de lirico. Sally G shows her filmic training in her music: moody, emotional, fittingly accompanying other performance.

This concert was labelled as Australian Women Composers and it was that, but more. Both are Canberra bred; both have ABC label CDs, Sally W has several; this was new music, so composed now; not least, the accompaniment was great, from Wicked-Strings!Quartet, Luminescence Chamber Choir and several friends. This was a quality local concert in a lively space and always well attended. And with any luck, you will be able to hear it again: it was professionally recorded by Infidel Studios.

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