New music wins!

Keith Gallasch

Lyndon Terracini’s second Queensland Biennial Festival of Music in July this year was another notable success bringing remarkable music to Queensland and from Queensland itself. Terracini also extended the festival’s regional reach, using the model of uniting local and visiting artists and communities, often through long term workshops and commissions that then belong to those communities. Over a mere 2 festivals the legacy of these collaborations is already in evidence in places like Barcaldine with its massive marimba ensemble and Rockhampton with its 2001 and 2003 symphonies by Elena Katz Chernin with words from local poet Mark Svendsen.

RealTime focused on the Brisbane portion of the program producing over 30 reviews that you can read on our website. (The site also includes interviews with artists working in regional centres—Svendsen, Graeme Leak and Jacinta Foale.) The Brisbane performances ranged from the sublimely epic, Heiner Goebbel’s vast orchestral and vocal work, Surrogate Cities, to the intimate, crystalline Rautavaara choral works performed in a small church, and immersive sound compositions in a tiny theatrette in the Judith Wright Centre.

Twilight concerts in the Spiegeltent attracted crowds with a free taste of some of Australia’s leading musical talents eager to sell their wares to visiting producers and presenters. David Chesworth Ensemble, Clocked Out Duo, Topology and Andrée Greenwell (with Deborah Conway and musicians with excerpts from Dreaming Transportation) delivered engaging sets with vigour and commitment. Patricia Pollett on viola gave one of the best, with an impressive range of Australian compositions, demanding serious listening from her attentive audience and. Trumpeter Scott Tinkler was equally intense, leading a marvellous set with his group, DRUB; the dueting and texturing from guitarist Carl Drewhurst was beautifully distinctive. A substantial excerpt from Chamber Made Opera’s Recital worked well in the intimate space with Helen Noonan in fine voice and executing tautly controlled choreography. The tent also housed daily forums and nightly cabaret performances, late night togetherness and exactly the right kind of hub for an intimate festival.

The Brisbane Powerhouse was home to the International Critics’ Symposium and several performances: a bracing array of creations realised by Elision and a generous and inspired staged concert from Meredith Monk and her ensemble. The highlight of Elision’s Burning House was seeing Lilla Watson’s artwork, Sight and Sound of a Storm in Sky Country (2003) side by side with and projected above Timothy O’Dwyer who delivered a sublimely controlled pointillist saxophone response to the work. Meredith Monk couldn’t bring the fully-staged version of Mercy past Singapore, so we got the concert version, but we weren’t short-changed—Monk and company magnificently gestured, tableaux-ed and danced to their idiosyncratic singing. In the Brisbane City Hall, The Big Percussion Concert packed them in twice over, once again a marvellous cross-cultural extravaganza, as subtle as it was athletic. The following are excerpts from a small selection of RealTime reviews of QBFM 2003.

RealTime was part of the official program of QBFM 03

RealTime issue #58 Dec-Jan 2003 pg. 42

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 December 2003