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Viva L’Italia! - Evenings at Elder Hall


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Evening concerts in Elder Hall act to showcase the talents of advanced students from the Elder Conservatorium of Music. This latest performance offered a selection of pieces by Italian composers, or that referenced Italy, and was a delight.

Each of the more than 20 students in the chamber orchestra arrived on stage with the colours of the Italian flag represented somewhere on their clothing or instrument.  Whether the six works to follow were energetic or sombre, the approach was clearly to entertain.

Corelli’s “Concerto Grosso” Op. 6 No. 2 in F Major was vivaciously played with delicious phrasing but that paled before the familiar “Albinoni” Adagio in G Minor by Giazotto. Used in Peter Weir’s Gallipoli movie, this well-known and sorrowful piece featured moving lead violin solos over sustained organ notes.  It was slow, rich and majestic. Geminiani’s “La Folia” was occasionally a little raw in timing but the conversations between violins and violoncellos were very engaging, nonetheless.

During the following interval, patrons were treated to small and very satisfying serves of a tasty tiramisu, in keeping with the theme of the evening.  It was a thoughtful and welcome touch.

Nino Rota’s “Concerto for Strings” was next, another of the more recently composed pieces. It was somewhat irregular, and included a quirky clip-clop rhythm, but it added to the variety of the program, so gets marks for adventure. The solemn notes of Puccini’s “The Chrysanthemums” produced a lovely suspense that segued into well-controlled and increasingly lively playing.

If the performance is remembered for one thing in particular, it may well be the final work, a world premiere of young David John Lang’s “Tiramisu”. Guided by master chef Carl Crossin (erstwhile director of the Conservatorium), who was dressed in kitchen whites, the composition was assembled bit by bit on stage. Oddly, it ended in a mood suggestive of a theme for a spaghetti western, and was a lot of fun.

Special note should be made of violinist Lachlan Bramble’s direction. It was clear that the ensemble responded well to even the smaller nuances of his suggestions.

Tiramisu, good program notes, accomplished and zestful playing of pleasing works by rising artists.  That’s not a bad combination.

Details of upcoming Evenings at Elder Hall concerts can be found online.



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