5 June 2017

Weekend 1

One big weekend. It started with rehearsal in Llewellyn Hall on Friday night (missing the Sirens and Vampires at the Street) only the second time that National Capital Orchestra and Canberra Choral Society has come together for this concert, and the first time with the soloist singers, although they only sang on one piece. Also the first time we the main composer of the night, Carl Vine, had a listen and made his comments. All that was exciting but it was only the start of the weekend. We met again on Saturday early afternoon (missing the final Maruki rehearsal) for a warmup and finally for the performance. Called Wonders, all of contemporary Australian music, at Llewellyn on Saturday night. The music was a challenge: lots of odd time signatures changing one after the other, counting consecutive 7/8,5/8,3/5 and the rest, jazz swing written in 12/8, impossibly quick unison semiquavers where even the quavers were challenging enough, odd scales, tricky repeating bowings and the like. Contemporary is like that, not the dissonance of early C20th (although there was one dissonant line by the choir that was blissful). And interesting words, in Semitic Akkadian and ancient Greek, the words of Homeric hymns and Babylonian creation myths and Walt Whitman and even Machiavelli ("It is better to be feared than loved". All an odd synthesis and not a Bach oratorio in sight. Plenty of opportunities to slip up, especially in the counting in the choral symphony or in the swift and sudden lines in the Hindson. There was some humour amongst all that. But this is a capable orchestra and choir, despite the tardy delivery of hired scores. Many NCO players floor me with quick reading and capable chops and there are visitors who fill in with little preparation but perfectly able playing. The basses had one of them - Hayley Manning of the CYO who joined us just a few days before the performance. Not too large and audience, as is likely for a more challenging program, but an exhilarating, testing evening and the real deal with the presence of Carl Vine, the composer of 2 of 4 works. My thanks to Lennie and all. Drinks after should have been a preparation for rest, but there was more to come this weekend. BTW, the works were Graeme Koehne Tivoli Dances, Carl Vine Symphony no,6 'Choral', Matthew Hindson It is better to be feared than loved and Carl Vine Wonders.

National Capital Orchestra and Canberra Choral Society performed Vine, Koehne and Hindson at Llewellyn Hall. Leonard Weiss conducted. Penelope Mills (soprano) and Christopher Hillier (baritone) sang the solo parts in Wonders. Dianna Nixon (artistic director) led the CCS. Carl Vine attended and presented the pre-concert talk. Basses were Roger Grime, Hayley Manning, Geoff Prime and Eric Pozza. Therese McMahon (violin) was concertmaster.

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