03 November 2017

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

The people we Australians have put on Manus Island are seriously at risk

The Liberal Party members of The Parliament of Australia can make them safe.

In the name of humanity do it now - today.

Mr Dutton
You are making decisions on behalf of the taxpayers of Australia and your decisions are harming innocent and vulnerable men on Manus Island.
Please stop your harsh cruel policies and return food, water and protection to the men in the detention camp on Manus Island immediately!
This inhumane treatment has gone on long enough! It is time to give these men, and the families on Nauru, an opportunity for a new beginning in a safe environment. You must remove them from these tropical hell holes. Either bring them here to Australia or allow them to resettle in New Zealand. It is not acceptable to place them in the community where the locals do not want them and there is no protection for them.
If you must continue to turn back boats, so be it. But there is no justification for the mental and physical torture you have condemned the asylum seekers to on Manus Island and Nauru. They reached the shores of Australia and they are Australia's responsibility. They are not 'illegals'. They have committed no crime. All they are guilty of is fleeing persecution (not unlike Josh Frydenberg's mother).
If any harm comes to any of the men on Manus Island, you will be responsible.
Yours sincerely
Stewart Jackel
Friday 3 November 2017
First Dog on the Moon says:

*Thank you to Nettythe1st in First Dog's Comments 3 November 2017

11 October 2017

Glories of the French Baroque

Brenda Rae and an ANAM orchestra directed by Benjamin Bayl

Friday 6 October 2017

Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

There was a cello on the southbound #1 tram. The left hand of its minder was practising – a concerto I learned later – on the case. Lightning Brain decided the cello was most likely on its way to The Con, The VCA or ANAM. It got off near Bank St: ANAM.

Cello - or part thereof

The cello was learning Dvorak. The concerto is 1894 – Very Romantic Czech. Last Friday its minder swapped that for early-ish 18C French Baroque – Rameau. Clearly that involved a completely different mid-set and a whole new set of techniques. I have wondered for some time, is there anything these ANAM musos won’t tackle; is there anything won’t perform brilliantly when they do?

True, they’re all music grads; true, they’re all rigorously selected by a tough audition but they are all more than technical skill. They are musicianship, they are musical intelligence, they are music-performance energy at a level that’s almost unheard anywhere else in this city. And all this was evident with Jean-Phillipe Rameau and Brenda Rae.

There’s a direct line from Rameau to Ravel: intelligence and dry-wittedness – acerbity even. If you don’t get that you bugger it. If you don’t get the dance Rameau wrote into the score you bugger it. Brenda Rae got it. Benjamin Bayl got it. The ANAM orchestra got it.
Ms Rae’s voice has the depth, the colour, the strength and the intelligence to sing – I mean really sing – Rameau*. Her singing up front beside the conductor showed her superb technique. So did her singing up the back with the woodwinds – as a member of the orchestra. This was not just an exercise in musical democracy but the best place to be the solo part of a sort of French concerto/ballet. But her stellar technique – the apotheosis in the sense of the elevation of someone to divine status – was saved until last: singing on her bum lasciviously removing her high-heeled Roman sandals.

Brenda Rae en-Baroque
Philip Lambert’s superbly researched and beautifully written treatise in the program notes talks about Rameau’s cracker-jack, foot-stomping dance tunes, clothed in richer, more imaginative music than the establishment. A lot of this concert made me laugh. Was I musically faux pas-ing? Lambert’s notes say not. When was the last time you laughed in a classical concert?
The Rae/Bayle/ANAM combination generated a semi-standing ovation. Why are Melbourne audiences so mean-minded in this regard? This performance demanded the full foot-stomping, bravo-ing/brava-ing, hands-above-your-head clapping sort of applause.
*If she sings more than one Rameau is she singing Rameaux? … Sorry!

19 August 2017

Adam McMillan in Recital at ANAM

Adam McMillan
South Melbourne Town Hall
Friday 28 April 2017

MOZART Sonata for Piano in A minor K310
CHOPIN Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor op. 31
RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit

Every once in a while I hear a musician who encompasses a suite of prodigious talents – technical and musical.

I knew about Adam’s prodigious virtuosic talent; it was no surprise today. But the repeat of Gaspard - I first heard him play it in late 2015 - left me gasping again. This is Ravel: dapper, perfectionist, every note carefully crafted and located. With Gaspard that’s a lot of locating. Adam’s job was to make sure every note emerged from its exact location – technically.

He did that again in this recital apparently without any stress even though the note/second rate is close to the human limit. Very soon though my ear stood back a bit from the canvas of notes. I got something very different. I began to get the pictures again: water ripples, a corpse swaying on a gibbet against that dark, dastardly, inexorable tolling bell, an evil nymph. And they’d been built in my head by Ravel’s and Adam’s notes.
It was extraordinary playing - beautiful, captivating.

Adam, 2017 : https://www.anam.com.au/whats-on/2017/recitaladam

Adam describes himself as an accompanist - teacher. Accompanists are a rare breed of musician, born not made, who, once they are technically adept, can play with another musician by getting inside their head; knowing what they are going to do before – sometimes well before – they do it.

Mozart - a rare minor key sonata.
Here then, came the big test: could he get inside Mozart’s head to find his piano sonata in A minor?

Adam, 2016 : http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/features/paul-dean%E2%80%99s-brand-new-ensemble-q-hits-brisbane

The age of the two boys is about the same (22/23) but there is two hundred year time and culture gap, a huge type-of-instrument disparity and, I suspect a big personality divide. Mozart’s mother had just died but that awful event is set against the background of his dirty-minded, irreverent nature. Adam did something clever, something that he could only do when he knew the notes, the rests, the pedalling, the dynamics markings - all safe in his head. He ignored the score in front of him and took himself off into a private salon high up on the left hand corner of the ceiling. There, he and Wolfgang put their heads together.

Out came pathos, anguish, wickedness (in the nicest sense) and impudent, cheeky music.

Here’s the second movement, Andante cantabile con espressione:

Adam emerged on Friday (18 September) night with the ANAM orchestra conducted by Matthias Foremny playing the acerbic, witty, metronomic piano line in Kurt Weill’s Der Silbersee Suite. Another style, another way of thinking that Adam seemed to slip into with complete ease.

I'd go a long way to hear Adam play.


23 November 2016

Beethoven’s 111

Laurence Matheson

Melbourne Recital Centre Salon

Thursday 17 November 2016

It’s been said that, at an international level, playing the right notes is a given. Laurence gave us all the right notes in Beethoven 111 but that was only the beginning.

It was the energy of his playing that set this recital apart from the merely excellent. At times it was as if he had been captured by the tension in the score so that his whole body, from his hands to his feet, exploded.

The F minor Fantaisie of Chopin is highly chromatic and often furious but in this performance every note was in its place and every phrase was defined crisply and cleanly. There is a beautiful figure in this piece that involves a succession of single notes building an harmonic structure of extraordinary delicacy and beauty. We heard this without affectation and without egocentricity. Its execution depended on Laurence’s trademark virtuosic pedalling that allowed one note to be fluidly succeeded by the next to construct the lyrical colour. Each note was defined but the pedal kept it alive to build on the next without muddying the note before.

The recital was essentially about three fantasies even if one, Beethoven’s Opus 111, is in sonata form. The wonderful characteristic of Opus 111 is that it’s very philosophical but in what respect, exactly? I had no help from the visuals: shiny black piano, black clothes head to toe, a complete absence of florid hand gestures unless that includes an occasional left-fist nose rub. The music was able to (was allowed to) to speak for itself.

Lawrence’s was a performance of intense emotions: rage? frustration? hope? resignation? packaged like a controlled coiled spring (again). His playing in this was as sharp as broken glass – harsh even – but still finding Beethoven’s underpinning lyricism. Laurence had listened to Beethoven say, ‘Don’t rush me. Take your time. Let me speak. My incredible mind is better than your incredible mind so don’t try to be clever. You’ll bugger my work.’

Between these two, programmed musicologically rather than sequentially, we heard As It Were by the Melbourne award winning academic and composer Elliott Gyger. This fantasy was built on ideas of Beethoven's Opus 26 and 110 sonatas. It’s a piece that I found difficult to comprehend at one hearing; I’d like to hear it again especially in the context of its inspiration. Clearly Laurence comprehended it; the composer seemed pleased with the performance.

It was his musical intelligence and his technical skills made this playing so exciting – and deserving of a much bigger audience than one hundred or so in the Salon (although it was wonderful to have a private recital).

Laurence won the ANAM Director’s prize for 2015 and is now an ANAM Fellow. This recital, curated by Marshal McGuire, was a wonderful celebration of that prestige.

It was the intersection of music, science and chess. Bloody brilliant!

 Laurence Matheson v Eric Neymanis 1-0

31 October 2016

It's time - for marriage equality

GetUp. Support it/them!

Peter Kahil,
Member for Wills

Hi Peter,

Let me add my congratulations to you and the Federal ALP in deciding to vote against the marrige equaity plebiscite.

I see no reason why anyone apart from  the federal Liberal Party caucus, who created the plebiscite problem, should be expected to fix it.
Howard changed the Act by a simple parliamentary procedure, Turnbull and the despicable, hypocritical Liberal Party ‘delcons’ barking at his heels can unchange it with a free parliamentary vote.
And I. by the way, expect you to vote for marriage equality.
I married whom I wanted to; Ian, my widowed mate is about to marry whom he wants to. Jason, my gay mate and Sue, my lesbian friend should be able to marry the person they love.

Best regards

11 October 2016

No reply, other than the automated, yet.
No information relating to marriage equality on http://peterkhalil.com.au/