17 November 2016


The woodwinds are a select group with their own sounds but I don't often get to hear them arrayed like this. The breathy flutes, the sinuous clarinet and their deep bass clarinet brothers and brooding double-reeded oboes and bassoons. There was piano and horn, too. Was the horns a ring-in? It's certainly brass not woodwind, it fit nicely. These were various combinations from the RMC Duntroon Army band playing music of the the Twentieth century. Apparently most woodwind music has been written in the last hundred years, after the development of the instruments as chromatic in all keys. The Clarinet quartet (flute, clarinet, bassoon, oboe) started with Wiberny Ulla in Africa, all African rhythms and jazz/improv-like lines. Then my favourite, Poulenc Sextet for piano and wind quintet (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn). This was a complex piece with feature lines and melodies passed throughout the group through several movements of varied feels and tempos. Great stuff. Then two Ross Edwards pieces, Binyang mimicking birdsong and Interior mimicking the sound of the Australian bush, played by solo clarinet with light percussion. Intriguing and a performance tour-de-force. Then Malcolm Arnold Divertimento played by the Wind Trio (and apparently every other wind trio) - flute, clarinet and usually bassoon, but this time, oboe - and a lovely discovery Alfred Reed Pastorale, a light country lyric on flute with piano accompaniment, and to finish, Canberran Nick Gilbert Creative compounds played by the Reed Quartet (oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon). This was modern, all compound time signatures and seriously satisfying to my ear. So a vary varied program with a range of fascinations and some nicely professional playing. Very nice.

The RMC Band Woodwinds performed at Wesley. They comprised (excuse the missing ranks) Lisa Agnew and Kylie Simpson (flutes), Carl Brumfield (oboe), Matthew O'Keeffe, Jacqui Broomhead, Natalie Dajski, Lenore Evans and Steve Wylks (clarinets), Lizz Affleck (bassoon), Tim McCabe (horn), Sean Henderson (piano) and Dick Cutler (percussion).

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