3 July 2018


Every few months I go on tour. This last one was to Gunning. Before, it's been to Cooma and Goulburn. Big time ... not at all, but entertaining if unpaid. Musica da Camera is my string orchestra that plays three of four times each year pairing its concerts with one at Cook on Saturday and a repeat at a local country town on Sunday. Each concert is directed by an invited musical director, perhaps with an invited soloist. If not, by a member of the group. MdC has been around for 40 years and it's been working this way for sometime (well before my time which is only ~18 months back). And this group is good, comprising various teachers and professionals and serious amateurs and inviting some great local guests. This concert was directed by Jonathan McFeat, now of Sydney, with early jazz banjo/guitarist, Liam O'Connell. A possible commission fell through but the program was fascinating none-the-less: Vivaldi, Faure, Warlock, Handel, Mendelssohn, Sibelius. The Vivaldi and Handel were par for the course and always much loved. The Mendelssohn was a blast, his Symphony no.10 that combines three movements into a single whole and drives along at a mighty pace. The Faure was his widely known Pavane, and the Sibelius, his Impromptu no.5&6, was a pairing played as one and the most well received of all from the comments I heard. It was beautiful. But perhaps the Warlock Capriol suite was the most unexpected of all. Harking back to medieaval or old folk with twisted dance sequences, a pavane but also a Bransles and a Tordion and a Mattachins (?), all jumpy and unexpected. I liked it all, partly because it was so tricky. But the prize for the unexpected probably goes to the guitar and strings arrangement of Faure Pavane and even more to the solo banjo rendition of Lionel Belasco Miranda, jazz/calypso from ~1915. Banjo and strings. A strange combination but it's all music. Congratulations and thanks too all: great music all round.

Musica da Camera performed at Cook and Gunning under Jonathan McFeat (conductor) with Liam O'Connell (guitar, banjo).

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