Friday, January 9, 2009

Another sad loss.

Deborah Riedel. Aged 50.

There's nothing I can say that others haven't already said better.

rest in peace, bella voce.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


How did we get here so quickly? Seems just a blink of an eye since the 'millenium bug' hysteria, and now we are nine years past it already.

Lives have changed irrevocably in this time, as lives do.

I wonder what 2009 will bring for us all?

I wish you all the very best, and hope that some music-related posts will be forthcoming in the near future.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holidays of varying descriptions

It's that time of year again. Food, drink, family gatherings, and horrible Christmas Carol shows on TV.

I would like to state that I have, thus far, managed to avoid said Christmas Carol shows. I intend to continue with this good form. Nothing makes me feel less Christmassy than having to watch a certain past-it tenor belt out a questionably 'classic' hymn.

This post starred LadyBlogger as The Grinch.

On a serious note, I wish all readers of this blog the happiest of holidays and hope that you all find much joy over the holiday season and the coming year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December will be magic again

There have been numerous times over the past few weeks when I have thought about updating this blog. Unfortunately there has been nothing worth updating about.

There still isn't. Soon, perhaps, I shall have more to say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We are, after all, unfortunately human...

I just heard the sad news that Richard Hickox, current Music Director of Opera Australia, passed away suddenly following a heart attack.

Although I never had the privelege of meeting him, his reputation as a fine musician will stand for a long time in my mind, and in the minds of many of this country's operagoers. Hopefully the current controversy can be put aside for now as the opera community turns their thoughts to his family in this sad time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Du temps et de l'instant

Hesperion XXI live is an experience I will never forget. I've been a fan for some time, but I wasn't expecting quite the level of sublimity that was bestowed upon we, the lucky audience in the City Recital Hall last night. If I could stay a little longer, I would be there for the second concert on Saturday night - different program. That being impossible, however, I shall simply bask in the lasting afterglow of a supreme musical experience.

If angels have voices, I imagine they sound rather like Arianna and Ferran Savall. Such glorious purity of tone, musical intensity, and absolute rightness of expression. Sometimes, and it is rare, I experience a musical event that does not disturb my sensibilities in any way, because it is so completely right and perfect in itself. This concert was one such event. Jordi Savall's viol playing is so refined and beautiful, his sound tugging at the very centre of the soul. I was disappointed to find out that Montserrat Figueras was ill and unable to travel to Australia... however this disappointment didn't last long as the delights contained in the program, even without her, were immense.

Special mention must be made of Pedro Estevan's percussion. An unwavering sense of rhythm, inventiveness, and personality. What really struck me about this ensemble was the unity of purpose, whilst still maintaining the individual strengths of the members.

I have had the haunting melody of Arianna Savall's La Salve coursing through my veins since leaving the concert hall last night. The warm, crystalline purity of her voice, combined with the dulcet tones of her harp are wonders to behold. There is something very human about the music Hesperion XXI chooses to perform - both ancient and modern. The ancient is surprisingly modern, whilst the modern carries within it the essence of ancient humanity.

I wouldn't believe I'm the only person in the audience who fell a little in love with Ferran Savall, either... he's a little bit too gorgeous to be such a masterful theorbist and have that voice as well. Not to mention his composition, a vocalise entitled Jaroslaw, was spellbindingly beautiful.

Driss El Maloumi proved a masterful Oud player, and Dmitri Psonis enthralled whenever he took up his instruments. However, the evening's laurels really belong to the patriarch, the spellbinding Jordi Savall. Undoubtedly, the highlight of this concert were his Variations sur O Sonjal. Absolute mastery of his instrument, and a way of speaking directly to the heart and soul of the listener. The final pizzicato phrases were a marvel in their sonority, a few moments of pure magic. This is what music is all about.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I can't shake it either.

I love my classical music enormously. Yet sometimes a break is needed, even from one's dearest love...
I love good pop music. And no, that is not an oxymoron. My latest interest is Kate Miller-Heidke (who used to be an opera singer, which = WIN). Anyone who sings a hilarious song about not being able to dance (Can't Shake It) which includes the lyric "I don't really qualify for breakdancing, I just break it..." has got my vote. Admitting through song that you can't dance? That's just awesome. There's also an adorably quirky song about just wanting to ride on this guy's motorscooter (NOT a euphemism, I'm sure), and how it's not that cool because he's just so metrosexual... it cracks me up. I love it. Complete with zooming and beeping noises. There's also the fabulous song that says "If you're God's gift to women, then God got it wrong!" Love it. Love love love it. Mainly because it's so TRUE. I see men like that every time I go out, and it's just sad. About time someone called them on it.
Quirky and fabulous isn't all she does. There are beautiful, heartfelt songs as well. My personal fave of these is about a boy she went to school with, who was thought of as a bit of a weirdo... but she befriended him and then when he got beat up and hassled for having no friends, she didn't stand up for him, now knows better, and is sorry. It's lovely. Again, it's just so true and real and... well, it's life.
I think what I like most about Kate Miller-Heidke is that she just seems like a real person, flaws and all. I loved her first album, but I think the second is perhaps even better.
So, it's my soundtrack of choice at the moment. It's replaced Soile Isokoski's Strauss Orchestral Songs, which in turn replaced Martha Argerich's Debut Recital disc.
I love music. That's all.