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All Good Things ...

MALCOLM TATTERSALL's final report from the
2006 Australian Festival of Chamber Music


Last year I failed to get to any part of the AFCM's extensive educational programme, the Winterschool, and by Friday [7 July 2006] I was wondering if I would do any better this year. But I saw a window of opportunity and flitted through it to a masterclass student concert presented in the Perc Tucker Gallery by two woodwind quintets. The first group were young, upper secondary students or undergraduates. They played a Venezuelan Waltz and two fast movements by Françaix, quite nicely, before ceding the stage to the RAAF Woodwind Quintet, mature musicians whose primary focus is not chamber music but the military band. They performed works by Taffanel and Hindemith -- two Pauls, as their announcer noted.

It wouldn't be fair to say they played the pieces better than the invited ensemble players could have done, but it would be true -- simply because the invited performers do not include a horn player or a bassoonist except in the Janácek Orchestra. It is perfectly fair to say that the RAAF quintet's work lacks only a little extra suppleness, interpretative freedom and insight to be up there with their role models; equally fair to say that moving up to that next level is more like scaling cliffs than walking up stairs.

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Copyright © 11 July 2006 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


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