11 May 2019

Endurance 2

It was a short walk to a more exposed hilltop for the ADFA Band (Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon). We've all seen them often enough. I like them lots. They bravely countered the elements as trained servicemen/women will, in uniform, no gloves. Some of the older audience could sit here but we could also walk around listening to Bach Toccata and fugue Dmin. Our group was late so only came in for the last bars of their other piece. The T+F was introduced as the most popular piece of Bach's repertoire. We were suggested to think of the brass ensemble as an organ in many individually-performed parts. It sounded somewhat like that. Again, I'm sure the cold affected the playing and probably the pitch but this is always a professional outfit. Then on further, mercifully inside, to the Director's Residence for the sonic.art saxophone quartet distributed through the space playing a very modern Berlin composition Stelzenbach Atempause. We were moved through but that little we heard worked really well in such a space, musicians distributed in corners of this residence that was made safe after the 2003 fire but not decorated or even finished inside. So, nice timber floors but open walls and spaces and no ceiling. It's an intriguing space perfectly suited to urban arts. Then again outside, to hear Los Pitutos in the Great Melbourne telescope dome. Again, open and cold; this time spitting rain. They retreated into the Common room (warmest indoors so far) and gave us a series of popular Latin-America songs. Uber-popular songs of the likes of Perhaps perhaps perhaps. They did this well with infectious latin rhythms and sweet vocal harmonies and a nice touch on percussion (even some horn!), but I would have liked to have heard more adventurous choices. I'm told the group is based in Berlin, the singer sings opera professionally and the horn player performs orchestral music and the whole group swaps instruments. All intriguing and the voices and rhythms were lovely. Then I had to leave. The Penny Quartet was setting up to play Widmann string quartet no.4. I caught just a few bars: they started with bowing the instrument's body. Mmm, could have been interesting. So, a cold day but a string of fascinating musical encouters. Nice.

RMC Band, sonic.art sax quartet, Los Pitutos and the Penny Quartet played on Stromlo mountain for the CIMF2019.

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