Smoke, Glass and Mirrors; Musical Subterfuge
Musical Luminati Series hosted by Twilight Musical Dialogues
3 August 2018
Adamstown Uniting Church, Newcastle
Written by Joseph Asquith
Smoke, Glass and Mirrors; Musical Subterfuge was the third instalment of the 2018 ‘Musical Luminati’ Series, hosted by Twilight Musical Dialogues and opened the Newcastle Music Festival. The theme of the night centred around the secret codes and messages which composers subliminally wove into their works. The program comprised works by Jacques Ibert, Robert Schumann, Arvo Pärt, Andrew Chubb, Johann Sebastian Bach and Dmitri Shostakovich. Flautist and Artistic Director, Sally Walker, was joined this time by violinist Aiko Goto and pianist Simon Tedeschi, along with featured Young Artist, cellist Tobias Reimann.
Opening the program was Deux Interludes for flute, violin and piano by Jacques Ibert. The enigma surrounding Ibert is the fact that he used a nom de plume of William Berty; Ibert ransposed the ‘I/Y’ sounds from the start of his name to its end, creating ‘Berty’. The origin of ‘William’, however, is unclear. Performed by Walker, Goto and Tedeschi, the performance delineated the pastoral, contemplative and flirtatious aesthetic of the work, with effective construction of the rhythmic motifs, lyricism and ornamentation that are simultaneously suggestive of Spanish flamenco music and the French genre La mélodie. Following this performance was another piece by Ibert entitled La petit âne blanc, which is from a suite of 10 pieces called Histories for solo piano. Tedeschi performed this with wit, panache and a sprinkling of kitsch, doing justice to the subject matter of the piece: a little white donkey.
The next featured work in the program was Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood: Of Foreign Lands and People. Prior to the performance, Simon Tedeschi illustrated the cryptograms in the works by Schumann, Bach, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. It was apparently a means of paying homage to, or perhaps even communicating with, his wife Clara Schumann. As abstract as this message may be, it certainly enhanced the playful, nostalgic and tender performance that Tedeschi delivered.
Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the mirror) was performed by Goto and Tedeschi, delivered with the hypnotic reverie and delicacy for which it is renowned, augmented by warm stage lighting. Indeed, the audience was totally transfixed by this masterfully engaging performance.
Tedeschi’s rendition of the Etude No. 1 for Piano by Phillip Glass with its rippling arpeggios and lyrical melodies, was imbued with subtle additive and contracting sequences, creating a momentum which was both emotionally moving and thought-provoking. The light and shade of euphoria, angst, sorrow and hope were artfully and elegantly conveyed by Tedeschi in this performance.
Next, Newcastle-based composer Andrew Chubb had his work Berceuse (Lullaby) performed by Walker and Tedeschi. A meditation on the relationship between mother and son, Chubb dedicated this work to his own mother. The performance was soulful, poignant and uplifting, with an emotive quality that was exquisite and moving. The composer lent his imprimatur to the performance with his presence and was given due credit during the applause.
The featured young artist for this concert was 13-year-old cellist Tobias Reimann who performed J.S Bach’s Suite in G, BWV 1009: Allemande. J.S Bach often inscribed his initials into his music, which has been said to be a means of connecting himself with God. Indeed, Reimann did justice to this sublime aesthetic of Bach’s music, as he performed this representative Baroque work with maturity, refinement and professionalism; he is certainly a prodigious and promising young performer.
The final work on the program was Five Pieces by Dmitri Shostakovich. Performed by Walker, Goto and Tedeschi, this piece was vivacious, charming, virtuosic, highly infectious and even humorous, with deceptive endings and facetious trickery on part of the performers. This performance deservedly received a standing ovation from the audience, which was followed by an encore performance; Schumann’s Fantasiestuck No. 1.
With Smoke, Glass and Mirrors; Musical Subterfuge, Twilight Musical Dialogues once again presented a superb concert, complete with captivation, edification, inspiration and enjoyment. The venue, was at capacity – perhaps the largest turnout yet for Twilight Musical Dialogues – and was filled with anticipation before the concert, and utter satisfaction afterwards.
Written by Joseph Asquith for SoundsLikeSydney