Elektra trivia

Back in the days when all British regiments had bands it was common for the band to entertain the locals with outdoor concerts in park or seaside bandstands.  As well as the usual martial and patriotic fare, such concerts often featured suites drawn from operettas or operas; both old and new.  Shortly before the First World War the more than averagely enterprising bandmaster of the Grenadier Guards made such a suite from Richard Strauss’ Elektra (premiered 1909).  Rather pleased with it, he decided to insert it into one of those rather dull pauses that happen during Trooping the Colour.  The bandsmen were also rather pleased with themselves for executing such advanced music.  Unfortunately they were soon to be deflated as a liveried flunkie emerged from the palace with a message for the bandmaster… “The King does not know what the music the band just played was but it is never to be played again”.  Sic transit gloria mundi.  Mozart apparently is OK though as the Coldstream’s slow march to this day is Non più andrai.

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Fairytales and Lullabyes

Yesterday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA was the last for the year in the vocal series and featured members of the Ensemble Studio.  Rachael Kerr was scheduled to do about half the accompanying but illness prevented her from playing so some hasty reprogramming meant that what we got differed somewhat from the printed programme but it was still a very well put together effort.

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7th annual Krehm memorial concert

It’s seven years since Elizabeth Krehm died and last night we heard the seventh memorial concert organised by her sister Rachel at Christ Church Deer Park.  As ever I was amazed and delighted at the resources the extended Krehm family can draw on.  The Canzona Chamber Players Orchestra is essentially a scratch operation but in the hands of conductor Evan Mitchell it’s always a pleasure to listen to.

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An afternoon with Adrianne

There’s something very special about a song recital by a really good singer at the top of his/her game in a space conducive to song.  The stars conjoined yesterday to yield a recital by Adrianne Pieczonka with pianist Rachel Andrist in the song friendly acoustic of Mazzoleni Hall, as part of the Mazzoleni Songmasters series.

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Old Songs, New Songs

Yesterday Matthew Cairns and Rachel Kerr performed an unusually wide range of songs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  It’s part of Matthew’s prep for his CBC recording session which was part of the prize at last year’s Centre Stage and which will be broadcast in the new year.  They kicked off with a contrasting pair of Duparc song’s.  First came the almost dreamy L’invitation au voyage with it’s arpeggio accompaniment followed by the much more dramatic Le manoir de Rosemonde.  These really set the tone for the recital.  There was power where it was needed but also considerable delicacy from both singer and pianist.

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The Maiden and the Nightingale

Yesterday’s lunchtime recital in the RBA was given by soprano, Vanessa Vasquez and pianist Miloš Repický.  It was a well constructed programme though there were few surprises.  The first set was three Strauss standards; Ständchen, Breit’ übermein Haupt and Befreit; the last dedicated to Vanessa’s teacher who died recently.  They were all well sung with appropriate emotional emphasis and, best of all, both performers appeared to be enjoying themselves.

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