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Manly Art Gallery Figuratively Speaking Sydney Chamber Music Festival

Archived 2 Dec 2018 - Posted: 3 Oct 2018
Sydney Chamber Music Festival artistic director/flautist Bridget Bolliger and British pianist Andrew West
This year, the Sydney Chamber Music Festival will present music in relation to the fascinating art works of Australian artist Robert Dickerson A0 (30 March 1924 - 18 October 2015). Known as a figurative painter, Dickerson's works are inspired by people and scenes and are often described as melancholy with isolated figures, menacing dark streetscapes and anguished facial expressions characterising his painting. This opens up a huge realm of music which SCMF Artistic Drector, Bridget Bolliger, is delighted to curate alongside a line up of outstanding artists.

The Sydney Chamber Music Festival originated as a one day event which became an integral part of the Manly Arts Festival.  Now in its 11th year, the acclaimed flautist Bridget Bolliger has built the Festival into an independent and elite series of five concerts over three days, featuring the finest chamber musicians, singers, actors and puppeteers from around Australia and abroad.  The focus of the festival is on the symbiosis of music and the visual arts in Australia.  Performances take place at a charming hall at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum situated on the shores of Sydney Harbour.  

The theme Bolliger has developed for this year's Sydney Chamber Musis Festival "Figuratively Speaking" is based on art works of the distinguished Australian artist Robert Dickerson.  "I gazed for hours at his paintings and they opened up a realm of possibilities for music programming.  Everything is open to interpretation and this is precisely why the visual arts inspire me as a musician.  And there is always a hidden meaning. Perhaps even a secret."  she said this week. 

In a collaboration between Manly Art Gallery and the Dickerson family, Against the Tide gathers together paintings, studies and graphics sourced exclusively from private collections, and includes unseen Robert Dickerson works that represent a long and remarkable career and life in art. The exhibition runs from October 19 to December 2.  

Having captivated audiences all over the world, the brilliant jazz vocalist Gregg Arthur opens the 2018 Sydney Chamber Music Festival with the Peter Locke Quartet in a performance of songs for The Great American Songbook.  Audiences are invited to come along find out why fan Tony Bennett gave him the hand written note that now resides proudly on Arthur's wall.  Iconic musicians say he is "simply the best singer I have ever heard". Gregg joins forces with Australia's finest jazz musicians to bring you In A Sentimental Mood described by the Sydney Morning Herald's John Shand "Gregg Arthur does it as well as any Australian singer I've heard.  Pianist Locke's gorgeous arrangement of In A Sentimental Mood allowed Arthur to tap into the songs beauty".  

A thirty-minute Family Concert featuring the Sydney Puppet Theatre "Nella and the Paradie of Birds" is the new innovative artistic collaboration with the internationally award winning Sydney Puppet Theatre.  Sydney based composer Jim Coyle's stunning set of 12 miniatures for flute and piano, composed and recorded in 2017, are beautifully brought to life as little Nella dreams and imagines a world of wonderful creatures in her puppetry realm. Through the collaboration of flute, piano and the magic of puppetry, this is a theatrical performance that will educate, excite the senses and inspire the minds of primary school children of all ages. 

Arguably Australia's finest cellist, the New York born and Perth based Michael Goldschlager joins Bridget Bolliger and internationally acclaimed Britist pianist in a remarkable programme of "chamber music throughout the ages.  Featuring performances from their recent solo recordings and some of the great trios for this ensemble, Goldschlager, Bolliger and West will perform works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Debussy and Martinu.  

Dedicated in part to the 100th anniversary of the passing of the great Claude Debussy, "Timeless" will also feature the Australian Premiere of the adaptation of  J.S. Bach's famous G Major Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano and the superb Requiem for Cello by Peter Sculthorpe.  

For two years, Michael Goldschlager played Bach suites as a musician and actor in over 1000 performances of the Broadway play, The Elephant Man with such notables as David Bowie and Mark Hamill.  He appeared in the concert to save Carnegie Hall with musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, Issac Stern and Leonard Rose and he chose the music for the Warner Bros Chuck Lorre TV comedy, Mom as music coordinator for the show. 

Michael performs on a historically important cello made for the court of Louis XV1 IN 1780 by Nicolas a Paris.

In the newest addition to the Sydney Chamber Music Festival 2018, Conductor, pianist, broadcaster and SCMF patron Guy Noble, will host an insightful 1-hour programme that takes the audience "up close and personal" on a journey into the mind and workings of a successful professional musician.  As host, Guy will be joined by one of Australia's finest international artists, the great Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble. along with pianist Andrew West and Amanda Cole PhD founder of "Performance Brilliance", to give their unique views and expertise on musical life and how to master both body and mind to reach full potential and enhance performance.

Following their talk, Andrew will perform the 1st Sonata for Piano by Alan Berg, and then Deborah will join Andrew in a special performance of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder.  Andrew West has been described by the Independent on Sunday as "the finest accompanist in Britain; his ability to craft a near-symphonic scale of thought and emotion within the shortest Lied knocks other accompanists into a cocked hat".  Deborah Humble's international career was firmly established after receiving rave reviews in Hamburg's Ring Cycle conducted by Simone Young.  

One of Australia's "favourite sons", the acclaimed pianist Piers Lane will be giving his one and only public recital in Australia in 2018 at the Sydney Chamber Music Festival.  As a prelude to his Wigmore Hall Recital early next year, Piers will be performing a diverse and stunning programme featuring works by J.S. Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.  

A pianist who stands out as an engaging and highly versatile performer, Piers's concerto repertoire alone exceeds ninety-five solo works, he has performed 5-times at the BBC Proms and has a discography of over 50 CD's spanning from Bach to Williamson. 

Michael Goldschlager’s cello was made in 1780 by Francois Fourier Nicholas. The instrument bears a label that suggests that it was commissioned by the famous impresario, Salomon and it is decorated with gold leaf informing us that it was commissioned for his employer at the time, Louis XVI and was a court instrument. After the revolution, he was the luthier to London’s Royal Academy of Music (one of Michael Goldschlager’s alma maters). He was summoned back to Paris by his next employer, Napoleon Bonaparte. Nicholas was one of a family of that name, all of whom were violin makers. When this cello was made, he was 23 years old. 

The lower ribs tell us a bit of its history. The golden varnish is rubbed bare where the cello was originally cradled in the legs of its operator. The spike that modern cellos use was not invented until about 1810. As it was a Classical Period instrument, it was modernised many years ago. The scroll is original, but like most instruments of this period, it has been grafted to a new and longer neck. On its back, the cello bears a gold-leafed inscription: Nicolas a Paris 1780.

FLAUTIST BRIDGET BOLLIGER AND PIANIST ANDREW WEST release TIMELESS on October 19 on the Austrian Gramophone label.  

The album is called “Timeless” and is music for flute and piano, both old and new.
Two of the four works,“Ballade” by Frank Martin and “First Sonata” by Bohuslav Martinu are both “timeless classics” in the repertoire.

“Paradise of Birds” by Jim Coyle, composed for me in 2017, is a world premiere recording and is a graphic depiction, in a series of miniatures, of the characters of 12 Australian birds lasting for approximately 20 minutes.

The fourth piece to be recorded is a first Australian recording of the work “Bilitis”, by Claude Debussy as arranged by Karl Lenski. This is an arrangement of the first five of the “Six Epigraphes Antiques” and the “Chansons de Bilitis”-a relatively unknown ‘musique de scene’ for narrator, two flutes, two harps and celeste. On 25 March 2018, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy.

Like Coyle, Martinu , in his “First Sonata” was intrigued by the call of an indigenous bird in Cape Cod, the whippoorwill (Caprimulgus vociferus) and imitates its call a half-dozen times in the course of the finale.

Debussy, as is well documented, was inspired by nature and the impression it made on the mind.-“Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul” This year 2018 , is the anniversary. Harmonic aspects of Debussy’s style coloured much of the music written in the middle of the 20th century, as exemplified in the works of Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) and Frank Martin (1890-1974).

The harmonic and textural progressions combined with the influence of nature provide the timeless thread between all four composers.

‘Figuratively Speaking’

Friday 26, Saturday 27 and, Sunday 28 October2018

6:00pm - 8:00pm

Manly Art Gallery and Museum,  West Esplanade Reserve, Manly.

This article archived 2 Dec 2018

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