18 C
Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Bangalow Music Festival Turns 18

Latest News

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.

Other News

Co-op meeting

Annette Snow, Myocum As a Mullumbimby Rural Co-op shareholder of 42 years and a past employee of over 13 years,...

Byron Bay’s first ever matured spirit wins gold medal at London Spirit Competition

While the Northern Rivers region is well known for its environment and lifestyle, it is also becoming known for...

Search for a home

Jules Claydon, Ocean Shores I helped a friend move to a new rental property last week, relieved that a stressful...

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and Beyond

A huge amount of entertainment all crammed into one space.

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.

Mayor’s parting gift 

Michele Grant, Ocean Shores The Mayor’s parting gift to the Bruns/Bayside Community was ushering through approval for the controversial Corso...

Concert 9 on the Bangalow Music Festival program – Scheherazade. Photo Stephen Henry.

David Lowe

Lovers of fine music had a wonderful treat on the weekend with some of the best players in the world in town for the 18th Bangalow Music Festival, presented by Southern Cross Soloists.

The program included favourites and less well-known pieces by the masters, including Bach, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninoff, as well as exciting new works from Australian and international composers, including Joe Chindamo and John Psathas.

After opening with young piano prodigy Alex Raineri alone at the Steinway playing Chopin, the festival presented a kaleidoscope of different musical configurations including duos, trios, quartets and even a guitar quintet. Players filled the Bangalow A&I Hall stage to overflowing for the most ambitious works.

The discovery of the festival was the clarinettist Ashley Smith, who demonstrated exactly why he’s in such international demand with an astonishing array of performances across a wide variety of styles. Dancing with his instrument, he leaves the impression of being so good that he can transcend rules and boundaries. Who knew it was possible to play two notes at once on a clarinet? It was thrilling to listen to someone right on the edge of control but never losing it. A true superstar.

The 22 year old mezzo-soprano Xenia Puskarz-Thomas was another stunning discovery, singing a selection of arias from Mozart and Mahler, and explaining the meaning behind the songs with humour and grace.

Photos Stephen Henry

 

Tania Frazer was everywhere at this festival, both behind the scenes as Artistic Director and as principal oboeist in a number of fine performances. In her opening remarks on the festival’s theme of ‘conversations through music’, she spoke of musicians’ role on the early Silk Road in defusing hostilities and communicating without words, a process which continues today.

Guitar soloist Karin Schaupp was a revelation, especially when teamed with members of the Orava Quartet, four young men with dress sense as snappy as their performances. Hearing her virtuosic guitar in this context made me wonder why there wasn’t more repertoire for this instrument, which Schaupp explained doesn’t descend from the lute but from ancient Egypt. A festival highlight was her performance of an unusually optimistic, later version of Rodrigo’s famously sad Aranjuez, ma pensée.

When asked what was special about Bangalow compared to the great concert stages of the world, Schaupp said ‘playing in this intimate place with dear colleagues is very satisfying. It’s a close experience with a lovely audience who are with us for every note, so I will keep coming back!’

Among many other highlights, the incredible speed and deft touch of Blair Harris on the cello was beautiful to witness, as was the interplay between the visiting New Zealand Chamber Soloists.

The conversational element of chamber music was on display throughout the festival, with no conductor for many of the concerts, leading to intense concentration by the musicians upon one another, as well as the intentions of the composer. When conductor Chris Dragon was also present on the stage he lit up proceedings, losing his baton in one particularly exuberant moment.

Almost thirty musicians took a turn in the musical spotlight at one time or another in this festival, and all shone. Whether playing a solo or supporting role, the standard of musical proficiency on display, not to mention spirit, was extraordinary. Audiences were carried to many magical places.

The finale concert, Scheherazade, was a tour de force from fifteen performers, led musically by first violin Alan Smith, who was playing a 1770 instrument by Jose Contreras. His final, fragile note was very moving. It was followed by a well deserved standing ovation from a packed house.

Roll on Bangalow Music Festival 2020!


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Southern Cross Soloists at the weekend’s 18th Bangalow Music Festival, presented some of the world’s best musicians for lovers of fine music.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Man dead after boat capsizes near Yamba

Police say a man has died and a second has been taken to hospital after a boat capsized south of Yamba this morning.

Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

Upside down river

Tim Harrington, Lennox Head Letter contributor Richard White (letters 21/4/21) quite correctly identifies the Richmond River as an ‘upside down river’ and nowhere is this more...

Ballina Dragons’ great results at Urunga

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.