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<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Tattersall    SUNSHINE AND STARS


Thursday morning brought our usual sunshine and blue skies and a concert in St James Cathedral (Sculthorpe, Dresher, Schulhoff and Kats-Chernin) which I had to miss. Comparing notes with another local resident on the way into Civic Theatre at 5.30, I suggested that the only way to see everything would be to pretend to be a visitor, abandoning family, friends and work to check into a motel for the duration; maybe next year I'll try it.

That twilight concert built on ideas trialled in a similar concert last year, with moving images by Digital Dimensions projected behind the musicians on stage. Peter Garrett introduced the concert and spoke briefly about the environmental issues it addressed.

No-one introduced Peter Garrett, because in Australia that is totally unnecessary: he had a long career at the top of our popular music scene as lead singer with Midnight Oil, during which he established a strong presence as a political and environmental activist, and he has been a Member of our Federal Parliament since the 2004 election.

George Crumb's The Voice of the Whale is a modern classic. Thirty-five years old, it has a rare combination of compositional rigour and evocative programmatic content. This performance (Virginia Taylor, flute; Jiri Barts, cello; Mark Gasser, piano) would have been exemplary even without the gorgeous footage of whales behind it.

It was followed by the première of Ross Edwards' The Water Circle, which the composer has said, 'draws material from previous works of mine, such as Koto Dreaming, to which I have added new music as we trace the life cycle of a drop of water ... the work was written in response to the images by Digital Dimensions, who in turn edited them to fit my music.' The movie footage, all shot in North Queensland, followed the water cycle from clouds to mountain rainforest, to rivers in the flat coastal country (sugar cane farms as well as mangroves) and back out to the reef. The music, for shakuhachi, cor anglais, cello, piano, harp and percussion, was so well integrated with the images that it is hard to imagine it having an independent existence. Readers can see for themselves: an email order to info AT afcm DOT com DOT au will get you a DVD of the whole concert (talk, imagery, and music) for the very reasonable price of AU$20 plus postage.

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Copyright © 8 July 2006 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


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