17 April 2018

A return to old haunts

Musica da Camera played the High Court on Sunday and it was a return to an old venue. MdC is in its 40th year this year and they played the first concert held in the High Court, well before the recent series that has continued since Canberra's Centenary year. I'd heard that from an original member of the group, but on the day, I also heard it from a friend who I know otherwise who had attended that first concert. Circles within circles. It was the Running Festival that day, so access was a chore, but the audience was a nice size and the acoustics were flattering - just a nice degree of reverb where we were located. MdC was also celebrating the launch of its first CD (again, after 40 years) but I've mentioned the CD in another post. For this concert, MdC invited several CSO members: Barbara Jane Gilby (CSO concertmaster), Lucy Carrigy-Ryan (CSO violist and soloist for two works) and Kyle Ramsay-Daniel (CSO principal bass). The program was varied although had a melancholy tinge. Vivaldi (Concerto in G All Rustica) started it all with a lively spin, but then Hindemith Trauermusik was the first to commemorate a death. Then Elgar Serendae for Strings livened things up a little but Puccini Crisantemi memorialised another death. Then two recent Australian compositions: James Grant Waltz for Betz was a waltz offered to his wife for a Valentine's Day (lots of bass pizz and pretty solo melody line) and Graeme Koehner Whirling dance was polyrhythmic modernist work (I liked this one but not too easy to follow, especially while transposing up the sub-low-E notes on bass). Then, as encore, Morricone Gabriel's oboe (theme from The Mission), everyone's memorable favourite. That's the sort of composition you could retire on. Lucy played the solo parts on Hindemith and Grant. Barbara led from the first violin seat (standing like the higher strings and Kyle). Kyle just stood beside me a blasted his way through the music with some great reading and convincing playing. So that's what it takes to be a principal bass. He did a great job. We'd played the program through on Friday and I'd preferred that take, but others didn't agree. It just shows how we judge group performances by our performance. But what a pleasure to play with these professionals and this excellent string orchestra and to play in the High Court to a generous audience. And thanks to Karina who organises this concert series.

Musica da Camera performed at the High Court. Invited guests were Barbara Jane Gilby (musical director), Lucy Carrigy-Ryan (viola soloist) and Kyle Ramsay-Daniel (bass).

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