29 June 2017

Always dress up

They must be the niftiest dressed band around Canberra, but that's part of the gig. The Woodwinds of the RMC (Royal Military College, Duntroon) Band were playing at Wesley but they could have been playing for the GG or pollies or even the Queen, so the dress is formal and expected. Short blazers, black with crimson piping with a chain to join the front, badges of rank and other insignia, red cummerbunds and black bowties. Natty. But off stage were some others who weren't playing on the day and they were in jeans and a photographer in camouflage gear. Quiet a range, from the very formal to extremely practical. I just wondered what the women would do with their long skirts if the war came to Wesley, but it didn't. I jest. But I really liked this concert. Another incongruity was the music. I tend to think of a military band as playing pop tunes or marches, but this was Bach, Poulenc and Dvorak, so it showed my uninformed preconceptions. They are all trained professionals, so not surprise they can do it all, and no surprise they would cover the field. And they did more. The Bach was his Keyboard Concerto no.4 mvt.III but it was played on Cor Anglais by Carl Brumfield who had arranged it for this format. Congratulations. Skills that cover the waterfront. That was played by a sextet led by cor anglais with clarinets, harpsichord continuo and bass. Then a duet, Poulenc Flute sonata, three movements, played by flute accompanied by piano. I was impressed by flute, flighty and birdlike sometimes, but also strong and full, and the piano that drove through the various changes of tempo and style with admirable firmness. Nice. The the major, longest work, Dvorak Serenade for wind instruments Dminor. This group was large with visitors: 12 players on oboes, clarinets, horns, bassoons, cello and bass. Cello was a invitee from the School of Music (there are no cellos in the RMC Band, although there is bass) and presumably the horns were invited from the brass players. This was nicely together, led by one clarinet, nice intonation, convincing swells and satisfying dynamics, and some nice deeper lines from cello and bass, and perhaps joined by the contra-bassoon. So, a very satisfying lunchtime concert. Next RMB Band outing at Wesley is Pictures at an Exhibition by the Brass Ensemble.

The Woodwinds of the RMC Band played Bach, Poulenc and Dvorak at Wesley. The players were Carl Brumfield (cor anglais, oboe), Nerida McCorkall (oboe), Kirsty Bird, Steve Wylks and Natalie Dajski (clarinets), Lenore Evans (alto clarinet), Suan Waterman, Josephine Smith and Carly Brown (french horns) Laura Long and Lizz Affleck (bassoons), Mark Jones (contra-bassoon), Elspeth Forster (flute), Andrea Clifford (piano), Carla Allmich (continuo), Thomas Powles (cello) and Barnaby Briggs (bass). Escuse no ranks.

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