I have just returned from Australia where I attended the Fifth National Recorder Festival (Recorder 2000) entitled "Call of the Four Winds Festival". I and the other tutors returned greatly enriched by the experience. I met many wonderful people and some extraordinary musicians among the tutors and the students. The wonderful series of coincidences that brought me to Australia to this remarkable event are a story within a story so please bear with me while I tell you about some of them. (For those of you that know me already, you won't be surprised to know that email and Internet has a lot to do with these coincidences).
My first musical connection with Australia was, in fact, through Internet. In late 1995 I logged onto the Recorder Home Page for the first time and was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was there and emailed its creator, Nicholas Lander and within a very short time struck up an email friendship with this remarkable and colorful figure and his quick wit and encyclopedic mind. Nicholas and I soon be came close email buddies -- my Nicholas Lander email folder contains well over a 1000 entries in it and abounds with his colorful anecdotes and thoughts.
My second connection with Australia happened in 1997 in David Lasocki's living room in Bloomington, IN, where I was collecting my thoughts and practicing for a concert/lecture that I was to give that afternoon at the Early Music Institute. Of course I was in Bloomington entirely because of email, too (see "New Landscapes for the Recorder: an Internet conversation with David Bellugi" by David Lasocki in American Recorder, Jan. 1997). After going through my entire program a couple of times I decided to distract myself by looking through David's collection of recorder CDs and listening randomly to tracks of many CDs and recorder players that I hadn't heard of before. One CD particular caught my attention: "Breath of Creation: flutes of two worlds" that brought together recorder, shakuhachi and baroque flute in a mixed program of remarkably diverse musical entities: traditional folk melodies from Japan, Ireland and England; European art music (Bach, Couperin, van Eyck, Vivaldi); Zen meditations, 20th-century compositions and collective improvisations performed by two Australian musicians: Greg Dikmans and Anne Norman. The central core of the recording was a bird suite that included Couperin's "Rossignol en amour", a traditional Zen meditation piece called "Tsuru no sugomori" (Nesting cranes), Linde's "Music for a Bird" and "Tail feathers". This last piece being a collage of excerpts from works demonstrating the influence of birds and nature on music.
I was immediately struck by a feeling of artistic affinity for the two performers and for the courage shown in their choice of this program.
For years I, too, have been directing my listening mainly towards certain ethnic musicians that I found particularly inspiring in terms of my own playing and interpretation of early music. The shakuhachi pieces on this CD, for example, were quite familiar to me. Matter-of-fact, my brother-in-law, Berry Hayward, had himself transcribed and performed (on the recorder) the same "nesting crane" piece that was on this CD.
A few months later on a subsequent trip to the United States I met Pete Rose for the first time. I spent an afternoon at Pete's house in Maplewood, NJ, where he played for me a number of modern compositions. The first piece he played for me was a captivating piece by Australian composer Benjamin Thorn called "The Voice of the Crocodile" (Edition Moeck Nr. 2561). One of the results of this visit was what I believe must certainly be the first group commission of a composition for recorder organized by email. Aldo Abreu, David Barnett, Vicki Boeckman, Clea Galhano, John Tyson and myself agreed through email to jointly commission Pete to write us a piece for recorder and guitar ("Nice Folks", to be published this year by Carus Verlag edition).
In early 1998, while in Boston for a workshop and concert for the BRS, I had dinner at Aldo Abreu's house with Pete Rose and John Tyson and Pete explained to us the "secrets" behind "Nice Folks". At this dinner Aldo told us that he had been invited to perform in Australia in January 2000 (at the time the year 2000 seemed a long way away!). I believe that this was the first mention I had heard of "The Call of the Four Winds".
Later that same year, I went to Australia for the first time and gave workshops and concerts in Hobart and Canberra. I also had ulterior motives for going to Australia that year as my two daughters were in Sydney for 6 months studying ballet and modern dance. I had discoursed by email at length with Nicholas Lander about this trip, and he was quite helpful it getting me the contacts that resulted in two professional engagements in Australia: in Hobart and Canberra. As luck and coincidence would have it, Nicholas had accepted an invitation to a conference in Canberra the week that I was to be there. By clever scheduling Nicholas and I therefore met in person for the first time at the Melbourne airport where we were both transferring to the same flight to Canberra. It was indeed a pleasant experience to be able to finally put a face to a person that I had come to know quite well by email. By another pre-arranged coincidence (through email, of course) Melbourne-based recorder player/composer Rodney Waterman drove in and met us in the lounge of the airport. Rodney had just finished recording a CD of predominantly Brazilian music that he performed with guitarist Doug de Vries. (I later "presented", through email, Rodney to Clea Galhano who also has been doing exciting work in the same field). Rodney immediately expressed fond and nostalgic memories of his studies with Kees Boeke in Italy in the `80's in the Tuscan town of Pitigliano.
Arriving in Canberra with Nicholas we were met by Christopher Short, another frequent email friend of mine, who had just begun helping Nicholas to restructure the database containing the growing number of entries of CDs featuring the recorder. The day after the workshop and concert we spent the afternoon at recorder player Robyn Mellor's house. Robyn, a leading recorder player and teacher in Australia, is the artistic director of Gaudeamus, the organization that had invited me to do the workshop and concert in Canberra. [Gaudeamus as of Dec. 1999 is known as "Music for Everyone"] Robyn's husband, Nick Horn, had just written an article on recorder players in Australia, called "Recorders in Borderland: The Recorder and World Music in Australia" that was subsequently published in the Australian magazine "Recorder and Early Music" (No. 22, 1998) edited by Greg Dikmans (of the above-cited CD "Breath and Creation" ) . I had already read this very interesting article because it had been previewed on Nicholas Lander's Recorder Home Page. [The full article now appears at http://www.iinet.net.au/~nickl/fusion.html] I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nick Horn had quoted a section of the liner notes from my CD "Landscapes" in which I say:
The recorder has a close relationship to certain folk and ethnic instruments whose music stems from an oral tradition: indeed, much of Early Music either re-elaborates aspects of popular culture or becomes synonymous with it.
Nick Horn then goes on to describe the fact that the recorder is establishing a territory within the realm of "world music" and describes the work of several Australian recorder players, among whom Greg Dikmans, Rodney Waterman, Zana Clarke and Racheal Cogan. The article concludes that the above musicians (and others) exemplify "a growing trend to expand the musical world of the recorder through collaboration and synthesis with other instruments and traditions."
It then goes on to talk about the Recorder 2000, the national Australian recorder festival, subtitled "The Call of the Four Winds", quoting the promoters of this festival's objectives:
[The festival] aims to explore the recorder with a variety of activities to enhance its profile and performance possibilities. The festival will also include other woodwind such as the Japanese flute (Shakuhachi), the South American flutes (Quena and Panpipes), the Indian flute (Bansuri) and the Whistle, giving participants an opportunity to specialize or integrate the many similar techniques employed by those instruments.
Ostensibly, one of the reasons we were at Robyn and Nick Horn's house in the first place was because Nick Horn was to conduct an interview with me for the "Recorder and Early Music" magazine. However, I wasn't particularly interested in talking about myself at that moment, I was much more interested in hearing more about the people that Nick had talked about in his article! So we spent the next couple of hours listening to recordings of Zana Clarke, Racheal Cogan, Rodney Waterman, and others.
These recordings showed me that two musicians in particular had extended the boundaries of the Renaissance Ganassi recorder in very interesting and unusual ways: Zana Clarke and Rachel Cogan. Racheal Cogan performs Greek traditional music on the Ganassi in G with the group haBiBis, thoroughly convincingly taking over the role of the clarino in the traditional Greek band. Zana Clarke on the other hand has developed a very personal style of playing with Peter Biffin in their group, Nardoo in which they present "an intriguing blend of Turkish, Japanese, Indian, jazz, Medieval and contemporary music" in their CDs "Nardoo" and "Waiting by the Sea". Peter Biffin, a well-known instrument-maker, is also performer on a variety of plucked and bowed instruments and inventor of instruments that are a fusion themselves.
After I returned home to Italy Nick Horn and I conducted the interview by email. The result of this was an an interview entitled: "We are what we listen to" which appeared in the same issue of "Recorder and Early Music" (No. 22, 1998) as the above-mentioned article "Recorders in Borderland" and can also be read on the web at: http://www.davidbellugi.com/Nick_Horn.html.
In the meantime I had my first email contact with Zana Clarke and when I proposed that we exchange CDs she promptly sent me two packages: the first containing publications of Orpheus Music - including several intriguing compositions of her own and music by Benjamin Thorn - and the second containing her CD "Dreams Inside the Air Tunnel". From the very first I found this CD to have a haunting beauty to it, a feeling that was even more enhanced by being able to follow the scores along with the recorded performance. Zana has developed a very individual style of playing and composing that entails singing into the instrument at the same time as playing it, giving rise to a poetic tone painting that is highly unique. What was also immediately apparent is that Zana is also highly enterprising. Her company, Orpheus, quickly became a reference point for recorder music (contemporary and not) whose catalog now has well over a hundred entries and had recently branched out into recording and distribution of CDs including Rodney Waterman's CD "Agua e Vinho". Zana later sent me another CD "The Great EMU War" a CD of a group of young musicians, all students of hers, that attests to her teaching and directing capabilities. [All of the CDs mentioned in this paragraph are available through the ARS CD Club]
I also learned more about the "Call of the Four Winds" festival-workshop-competition and within a very short time found myself invited as well. The festival is the brainchild of co-directors Zana Clarke and Caroline Downer who worked assiduously for several years towards the goal of this festival.
The Festival took place from Jan. 15-22 with 7 concerts, one every evening except for Wednesday, a rest day. The teaching took place over 2 three-day periods Jan. 16-18 and Jan 20-22 and the competition finals took place in the last three days. The teaching was organized so that each tutor had two "streams" (home groups) one for each three-day period and two electives. Streams included not only recorder, but also bansuri (Indian traditional flute), Panpipes, Pipe and Tabor, Quena (S. American flute), Shakuhachi (Japanese traditional flute), Irish Whistle, Composition, Harpsichord, Introduction to improvisation, Choir, "Rhythm in the Bones", Renaissance Court dance and Recorder making.
Electives included captivating subjects and titles such as (quoting from the Call of the Four Winds brochure): Medieval music, Renaissance music, Baroque performance practice, contemporary music, Ensemble playing, "Recorder and all that Jazz", Eastern European music, Venezuelan music, Recorder technique, Teaching the recorder, Beginner's Whistle, Australian Folk band, History and Philosophy of Shakuhachi, Beginner Shakuhachi, Pan-pipe making, Beginner Quena, West Asian music, Ashanti Adowa - West African Ensemble Drumming, Bansuri, Frame drum, Beginner recorder, Singing for pleasure, Holistic Music (including overtone singing), Acoustics, Renaissance Court dancing, Music arrangement, music editing, Recorder Orchestra, Masterclasses, Small chamber Groups, Dance band, Latin American music, Massed whistle, Shakuhachi small groups, Secrets of Polyrhythm, Unconventional Orchestra (including inventing intruments!), Performing with tape/CD/DAT/Multi-channel Sytems, Collective Improvisation from Graphic Notation, Microtonality and Pitch Bending, Historical Sound Documents, The Improvisatory Art of the giullari, The In Nomines of Elizabethan England, Pop/Crossover Ensemble, Shakuhachi making, Bossa Nova, Drums of the Middle East, Indonesian Gamelan music, Harmonic Singing, Finding Amadeus (a brief introduction to the history of music)
The festival was attend by well over 400 particpants and 40 tutors. [click here to see photo]
What follows are excerpts from a diary I kept while in Australia.
Wed. Jan. 12: I leave home (Florence, Italy) at dawn.
Thurs. Jan. 13: I arrive in Sydney in the evening and check in at the airport Sheraton. I have a flight early the next morning for Armidale.
Fri. Jan. 14: As I'm about to get on the plane, someone taps me on the shoulder and says "Hello, David". It's Aldo (Abreu)! We apparently spent the night in the same hotel without knowing it. On the plane we catch up on each other's lives. Aldo, the proud father, shows me photos of his beautiful daughter Marisol. We discuss the joys of having children and being a parent. I warn him, though, telling him the Italian saying: "bambini piccoli, guai piccoli." meaning "small children, small problems" -- implying of course larger children, larger problems (my daughters are now 16 and 19 years old and I can attest that the saying is true!). We then get to talking about music and in particular about the Bach partita that Aldo won the Bruges competition with in 1984 and that I have to perform for the first time in Berlin in a few months. We discuss the two problematic notes in the first and second movements and I'm very pleased to know that he had come to the same conclusions as I had. Namely that the last A in measure 17 of the first movement should be A flat and that the A in measure 53 of the second movement should likewise be A flat. Small problems compared to the larger structure of the piece, but nonetheless important.
After a relatively short time we arrive in Armidale (NSW) and are driven to
the New England Girl's School (NEGS) where the workshop is to take place and
where we are housed. I finally meet Zana Clarke and Caroline Downer (the
organizers of the festival). [click here to see photo]
Zana is very pregnant! She tells us that the baby is due on Wednesday, the day
off! (The baby will be born one day later). [click here to see photo of Zana and her
husband Peter Biffin] Robyn Mellor is already there as are John Tyson and
Miyuiki Tsurutani (John's wife) and Rodney Waterman all of whom I already knew.
We go into town for lunch. I am introduced to Bernard Wells, a New Zealand
recorder player and guitarist, and to Linsey Pollack and Matthew Armstrong both
of whom make and invent instruments as well as perform.
[click here to see photo of Aldo, myself, John, Rodney and Bernard]
In the evening (New Zealand recorder builder) Alec Loretto makes a cheerful entrance. The tutors all meet for a briefing on the week to come. There I meet Natasha Anderson (student of Walter Van Hauwe), Ulrike Volkhardt (student of Ferdinand Conrad, one of my heroes when I was a student), Greg Dikmans (whose CD I had admired at David Lasocki's house), Ruth Wilkinson (recorder and viola da gamba teacher at the Univ.of Melbourne. I had already met her husband John Stinson, one of the world experts of 14th Italian music, when he was in Florence at the Villa I Tatti), Stuart Ransom (shakuhachi), Charles Garth (EM dance specialist who works often with John Tyson), Ros Bandt (who describes herself as a composer who does sound sculptures -- turns out she and I have a lot of friends in common from my wild UCSD days in the `70's).
Sat. Jan. 15:
Breakfast: We all have a great laugh when Alec Loretto jokingly mentions how the Moeck ceramic blocks would dissolve after by being blown on by 'boozy' recorder players (meaning recorder players who drink alcohol) and Aldo replies: "that's what we call 'playing under the influence'.
The discussion continues on more serious terms about breath pressure and shading tricks for dynamics. I mention some "tricks" that I have in which I can play notes with different dynamics and tone color without changing pitch or fingering. Alec quickly comes up a very sensible idea of a test as to how to figure out what I'm actually doing. We vow that we'll try it during the week.
During conversation the name of Frans Bruggen comes up. Alec recalls a recent visit to his house in Tuscany, the interesting topics they covered, and the commitment of Frans to his orchestra and those where he's a regular guest conductor.
Morning tea: I buy John Martin's book on "the Acoustics of the Recorder" and John Mansfield Thomsan book "The Cambridge Companion to the Recorder"
Alec comes up with a clever statement "the recorder is the easiest instrument in Western culture to play badly."
While listening to some amateurs play a trio in the background, Alec talks about his negative feelings while one is packing "why do I accept to do these things" (he flies to Europe 5 o 6 times a year from NZ) then when he gets there and starts meeting people, he says, "the buzz starts happening."
I call Clea Galhano to wish her a happy birthday (it's a day earlier in the Minneapolis!) and manage to get her just as she's beginning a celebration with her colleagues and friends from Belladonna.
afternoon: I buy the Zen-On edition of Frederick Morgan's drawing of Frans Bruggen's recorders. The drawings themselves are works of art!
I attend the afternoon semi finals competition and manage to hear three people play: Kara Ciezki, Amy Power and Alexandra Williams. I find all three players highly original, and each one very different and invividual in terms of style and choice of ornamentation. I'm impressed when I find out that they are all three students of the same teacher, Ruth Wilkinson.[click here to see photo of Ruth with some of her students]
Evening: The Festival begins with a concert of Aldo admirably accompanied by harpsichordist Rosalind Halton in a program of Latin-American based music plus Bach. Aldo, despite having just arrived two days earlier shows impeccible technique and plays some very interesting arrangements he has done of Zipoli, Cabanilles and Correa de Arauxo. We all hold our breath while Aldo plays the Bach partita perfectly. Our ears perk up when Aldo (purposefully) does an early repeat in the second half of the last movement by eliminating some measures the first time through in order to create a coda out of the last few measures. He gives us a beautiful rendition of Corelli's "La Follia" played with a unity of thought, as if it were one long extended movement.
After the concert Aldo and I joke about how sometimes musicians need to bend the rules as far as repertoire is concerned. Aldo has included "La Follia" as Latin music (`La Folie d'Espagne') whereas in the private house concert that I'll be giving on Friday (Italian music plus Bach), like Aldo, I'll be opening the program with Diego Ortiz (because his treatise was published in Rome).
Sun. Jan. 16:
First day of teaching. My morning "stream" is an advanced group of adults. At one point in the morning we discuss the merits of Aldo's concert. I show them how one can play the high C'''' of the first movement by fingering a C''' with the left hand and covering the fipple with the right hand. [click here to see photo]
morning tea: I try Philippe Bolton's elettroacoustic recorder that I had heard so much about. I like it so much that I decide to incorporate it into my concert on Thursday.
In the afternoon I'm pleased to see that my elective on Eastern European music goes over well because this was the first time I've attempted to do this in a workshop. First we played the melodies and then we improvised accompaniments to several of the Roumanian and Jewish dances I brought.
Master class: I am presented to two young New Zealanders: Cavin and Samantha. Only problem was that I couldn't pronounce their names properly: I have to ask Samantha a few times to tell me her name. She says something that sounds like Smnth' to me. Finally it dawns on me; "Oh, Samaaantha," I say with a very broad American accent. I don't think I ever felt more American then at that moment!
Evening concert of different groups: First half began with Zana's group of young musicians "Batalla Famossa" who with great gusto perform two modern pieces one coauthored by Zana and Ben Thorn and the other by Ben. Then a very young recorder quartet plays the Vaughan Williams Suite followed by a sextet that perform pieces by James Carey and Andrew Challinger (both of whom I had met in Edinburgh just a year ago).
The first half ends with The University of Melbourne Recorder Trio comprised of the three students of Ruth Wilkinson from Melbourne that I had heard in the semi-finals of the competition the day before. They admirably played the Hindemith Trio. The real revelation for me was the music of Gareth Farr that ended the first half. One movement had a minimalist accompiment with a haunting Indonesian melody on top. I later ask Alec Loretto and Bernard Wells about Gareth Farr and they tell me that Farr is in great demand at the moment as a composer in New Zealand.[click here to see photo]
The second half of the concert is totally devoted to New Zealand. There are 63 participants from New Zealand at this festival. By this time however, I unfortunately could no longer keep my eyes open because of jet lag so I make my apologies and miss the second half of the concert that begins with a traditional Maori welcome sung by an extraordinarily talented young woman, Karuna Thurlow, that Rodney later tells me was one of the most touching moments in the Festival. Luckily I am able to hear her sing later in the festival [click here to see photo]. Neville Forsythe then directs the Christchurch Youth Recorder Ensemble (CYRE) in a series of compositions that begin with Handel and end with a version of the jazz standard "A String of Pearls" that Paul Leenhouts had written for them. Later I am able to partially make up for having missed this evening when Neville gives me a copy of a CD of the CYRE.
Mon. Jan. 17:
Early morning, I find myself closed out of the music building where I am to teach so I start walking back to my room. I am captivated by a very unusual sound that I hear coming from the science building. At first I think that it must be a recording. Perhaps from a CD of Burmese flute music that I'd heard. Listening more carefully I decide that I know the mode that's being played. It turns out it was a young recorder player named Genevieve Lacey who was practicing a piece from the Faenza codex for a concert that evening on her Morgan Ganassi! [see insert]
This evening's concert began with a program of Medieaval music performed by Ruth Wilkinson and Genevieve Lacey and narrated by Ros Bandt first half all very tastefully and imaginatively presented. The second half was dedicated to Renaissance dances. John Tyson and Miyuki Tsurutani provided the music with dancers Charles Garth and Fiona Garlick. They gave a performance that was a huge success. The audience loved it, lots of laughter, especially when Charles did his 'three-legged' dance. John plays florid diminutions with amazing ease and an enticing blue-grass style swing . He also did some very impressive pipe and tabor playing. I played the bass part for three of the dances. On the first one I used, for the first time ever, a Paetzold subcontra bass lent to me by Natasha. Someone said to me after the concert and referring to the popularity of the evening: "what is it about Americans?"
Late night in the common room of the girls dorm where we are lodged we all relaxed and are entertained by Rodney, the Diaz family -- Justo (Argentinian), Olympia (Greek) and their daughter Olive (11 years old, talented and beautiful) -- Bernard and others until the wee hours with popular music from South and North America and Italy. We all played percussion instruments. Aldo played some popular South American tunes on the recorder accompanied by Justo. The Diaz family played charango, guitar, percussion, pan pipes and sang. Little Olivia, 11, told a hilariously bawdy joke that was the success of the evening (punch line: "Broccoli, 49 cents a pound").
Tue. Jan. 18
At the afternoon Master class Kara Ciezki played "Big Baboon" by Paul Leenhouts. She played the piece so well that I had no idea what to tell her! She played with conviction, communicativeness, ease and made me see wonderful images. She was to win the competition a few days later with this piece. I think she was a bit upset that I didn't have anything to say to her about the piece besides complimenting her. Later I told her that in 20 years time when she's teaching at an international festival and an incredibly talented young player plays a very difficult piece that she doesn't know very well and then looks at her for words of wisdom that she'll know how I felt! Later in the week she brought me Hindemith's Trio for another lesson and I was very happy to actually have something to teach her about how to interpret this music!
The first half of the evening concert was organized by Rodney [click here for photo] who puts together music by Eberto Gismonti, Pete Rose, Steve Tapper and himself using a very succesful albeit unusual combination of recorders, panpipes, clarinet, charango, guitar, electric bass, piano, a huge range of Oriental and African percussion and, for the final piece, an adorable "solo" on the Bombo by Olive -- Justo and Olympia's 11-year old daughter. [click here to see photo of Bernard, Olympia, Justo, Tony Lewis, Rod and John]In the middle John and Miyuki give a fantastic performance of a new piece by Pete Rose called "Pendulum" with Miyuki playing the pendulum part on a bass recorder and John playing Pete's be-bop inspired music as if he had invented it on the spot. Rod dedicates his piece to Zana and to Racheal who, he explains, have transformed the use of the Ganassi recorder.
For the final piece of the first half, the entire group performs a piece with a "solo" on the Bombo by Olive - Justo and Olympia's adorable 11-year old daughter - that brings foot-stamping applause from the audience who, by this time, are in a very festive mood! [click here to see photo of the whole group]
The second half of the concert was an incredible show put on by Linsey Pollack called "The Art of Food" in which Linsey invents a character called Ivan:
`a kitchenhand who's eccentric, hilarious and totally irresistable. And he lives in a musial world where all is possible... From the moment that Ivan walks into the kitchen, everything becomes musical... carrots, potatoes, satay sticks, meat cleavers and even an electric drill with which he transforms a carrot into a clarinet before our own eyes" (from the program notes)
Wed. Jan. 19:
"Free day" We all catch up on our sleep, laundry, practicing and I have some nice quiet moments getting to know some of the tutors better.
In the afernoon Ben Thorn plays two pieces for me, one with a pipe and small tabor drum reciting Rudyard Kipling and then the composition "Voice of the Crocodile" that I had first heard played by Pete Rose. [click here to see photo of John, Ben Thorn, Aldo and myself]
In the late afternoon I am picked up by Keith Power, for many years the only pediatrician in Armidale and an accomplished pianist and harpsichordist. His daughter, Amy, is studying at Melbourne University with Ruth Wilkinson. On Friday I am to perform an Italian day house concert for the Italian department of the New England University (that is in Armidale) with him at his house and this is probably the only moment we'll have to rehearse.
In the evening I have dinner with most of the other tutors and we all share a toast to honor Ulrike's birthday. I eat grilled crocodile for the first (and probably only) time. It tastes surprisingly like chicken, not at all rubbery like I would have expected. Maybe they didn't serve me crocodile at all!
Thurs. Jan. 20:
Morning: I have a new "stream" [home group] consisting of 8 young adults, 6 of whom were students of Zana's and performers in the group Batalha that she directs. They are all extremely bright and talented and it is quite a challange for me to keep their young flexible minds sufficiently engaged to keep their attention. They can sight read absolutely anything so I keep putting new music in front of them. They had the best of times playing the Klezmer tunes from Landscapes. Since I had my own concert that evening I also had them try playing along with my "virtual orchestra" CD that I was to use as a background for the performance. One of the girls tells me "this is the best course I've ever had!". I might be flattered except she's so young that I can't imagine she's been to all that many courses!
[click here to see photo]
While I'm performing in the concert that evening a frog comes into the chapel
and sits and listens.[photo]
For an encore I call Aldo onto the stage and we perform a Baroque sonata together. [photo]
Unbeknownst to us at precisely that moment Zana was having her baby, an 8lb. boy who, two days later, was named Shah ("King") Biffin. [photo]
Fri. Jan. 21
The concert for the festival is called "The Contemporary Recorder" in which Natasha, Ros, Robyn, Ben, Ulrike and Rodney perform pieces by Swiridoff, Blake, Waterman, Thorn, Anderson and Bandt. I am unable to attend the concert because I am performing at a house concert in town at the same time
Sat. Jan. 22
After the morning tea/coffee break Aldo, Rodney, John and I have our streams perform for each other. Aldo's class plays a brilliant orchestration of the final Allegro of Handel's A minor sonata that greatly enhances my appreciation for the form and structure of the piece. Rodney's group plays a Brazilian tune with jazz impros in the middle. John's group plays a Renaissance tune with a remarkable "sprech-gesang" style descriptiveness in their playing and a fun jazz piece with impros as well. My class plays "Craitele" (a blindingly fast piece transcribed from the "Roumanian Flutes" CD published by Arion) and 5 Klezmer dances with improvised accompaniments.
The evening concert is entitled "Pearls of the Baroque" in which Ulrike, Hans-Dieter Michatz (Baroque flute), Ruth, Rosalind, Genevieve and Greg beautifully perform Baroque masterpieces by Hotteterre, Couperin, Bach (the B flat triosonata), Loeillet (quintet for 2 flutes, 2 recorders and continuo), Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre and Telemann (the d minor Tafelmusik). Greg Dikmans opens the evening with a very sensitive and moving performance of van Eyck's variations on "Daphne".
Sun. Jan. 23
clean up day at NEGS. De-briefing meeting. Zana and Peter show up with three-day old Shah. After the meeting I offer to exchange CDs with anybody present with whom I had already done so. In the end I came home with two dozen CDs of colleagues! In the afternoon I fly to Sydney. The departures are not all painful as I've already made arrangements to see all of the Melbourne-based colleagues the following week.
Mon. Jan. 24
Early in the morning I take the bus to downtown Sydney. On the bus I embarass myself by laughing aloud when I start getting bawdy messages in rhyme on my cell phone sent from a group of musicians friends of mine having dinner together in Florence. I get off the bus at circular Quay (pronounced "key"), call Giovanna Jatropelli (director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney) at 9am and make a date to pick her up for lunch at 1pm. Since I have several free hours I decide to take the subway up one stop to a Kinko's to do email. I walk into the Circular Quay subway entrance and ... encounter Justo! [click here to see photo] After telling me that Linsey is performing in Sydney at Darling Harbour at lunch time, he takes me to his office -- Justo is the NSW multicultural music coordinator for an organization called Carnivale -- where I spend a couple of hours answering email and making phone calls. I call the director of the Institute and to my pleasant surprise I find that she is very amenable to changing our plans, so all go to see Linsey perform and Darling Harbour where we are met by Olympia and Olive. Linsey is performing using a midi wind-controller and the audience can only hear through microphones. So when you see him from a distance it looks like he's doing a silent dance. After the performance we all go and eat a very simple lunch at the food court.
Afterward lunch we walk back to Circular Quay and after saying our goodbyes, I take a bus to the airport and fly to Melbourne where I am picked up by Racheal Cogan. We stay up until very late talking about music and life and my experiences at Armidale and Sydney.
Tue. Jan. 25
I spend a very lovely day with Racheal and Irine in Melbourne and later in the afternoon after playing duets together, Racheal drives me downtown to have an interview for a multicultural radio program. Racheal plays for me some of her favorite CDs while she cooks dinner. Her dinner is by far the best meal I had in Australia. We stay up late talking about music and future projects.[click here to see photo]
Wed. Jan. 26
"Australia Day" (national holiday): Early morning breakfast in Racheal and Irine's backyard. Alexandra arrives and we play some trios. Then Alexandra takes me to visit Fred Morgan's wife, Anne Murphy, who lives in Daylesford. I had known Anne's sister, Mary, when she lived in Paris. Anne Murphy is a harpsichordist who teaches at Melbourne University. We spend a very warm and gentle evening together.
Visiting Fred Morgans workshop was a very special moment because, although I never had a chance to meet this extraodinary man, his presence was tangible in the festival through his life's work.
Thurs. Jan. 27
I have an interview with an Italian radio station after which I have the one and only meal that I will have eaten by myself of the entire trip! In the evening I give a concert at the Italian Cultural Institute.
Fri. Jan 28
Natasha comes for breakfast and we talk and play music for several hours. [click here to see photo] We discuss a possible version of Bussotti's "Rara (dolce)" where Natasha could interact with a video of herself.
She then accompanies me to Greg's house where Greg and I talk fervently about computers, Early Music, the recording business, and families. Alexandra joins us in the afternoon and then I go to her place to give her a lesson. She then accompanies me to John Stinson and Ruth Wilkinson's house for a wonderful dinner along with harpsichordist Linda Kent, Ros Bandt and her partner Arthur.
Sat. Jan. 29
Last day in Australia!
Alexandra picks me up and takes me to Genevieve Lacey's house where we are met by Rodney Waterman. After a delicious breakfast cooked by Genevieve we play duets and trios. Rodney drives me to his house to meet his family and also shows me his wonderful collection of recorders built by Fred Morgan.
Zana Clarke and Caroline Downer have shown remarkable vision and purpose in putting together this unique festival and I wish to personally congratulate them and thank them for having included me in this very special event. They managed to put together a versatile and eclectic group of people that worked together smoothly over the entire period of time. I'm only sorry that time did not allow me to visit and experience first-hand all of the remarkable work that I know was happening at every moment of the day! Seeing so many talented and committed young students also gives me great hope for the future. For me this festival was at the same time an appropriate ending of one century and a promising opening of a new millennium. There is no doubt in my mind that the "Call of the Four Winds Festival" will be a cultural event that people will be talking about for years to come.
I would also like to thank Giovanna Jatropelli and Giorgio Campanaro, directors of, respectively, the Sydney and Melbourne branches of the Italian Cultural Institutes for their help, kindness and sponsorship.
The Third National Recorder Competition was held in conjunction with The Call of the Four Winds festival in Armidale from 15-22 January.
The Competition which covered solo and ensmble playing and composition sections included participants from around Australia and overseas was sponsored by Orpheus Music and Dragon Early Music Enterprises.
Winners in the performance sections were: Open Solo (Fred Morgan Memorial Prize): Kara Ciezki from Melbourne; Under 18 Solo Karyn Ashley (Armidale); Under 12 Solo: Marion Barraclough (Melbourne); Open Ensemble: Fortune (Sydney); Under 18 Ensemble: The Fipple Pipers (Wollongong). In the Composition sections winners were: Open piece for solo recorder: Yasuharu Fukushima (Japan); Open Ensemble piece: Miggs Coggan (Armidale); Under 18 section: Cavin Adams (New Zealand).
Particularly in the performance sections competition was very close and any of the finalists could have won on another day.
Photo: Fred Morgan Memorial Prize finalists: Kara Ciezki and Amy Power
Genevieve Lacey was born in New Guinea in 1972. In 1980 she moved to Australia. After studying with Ruth Wilkinson at Melbourne University - where she graduated in January 1995 with a double major in recorder, oboe and English Literature -- she went to Basel, where she studied with Michel Piguet and then to Denmark where she studied for two years with Dan Laurin.
Shortly after returning to Australia she put together a tour of Australia of about 25 concerts with a Danish percussionist. Half way through the tour she got a call from the director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra saying that their soloist had gotten sick and that, after ringing around the country, he was told to call her. She accepted to play three concertos in three weeks time (Vivaldi's C major, C minor and Sammartini). The ABC classics label then offered her to make two recordings: one with Linda Kent ("Baroque piracy") and one with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Rather than doing a catolog of Vivaldi concertos, she constructed in the 18th century pastiche ideal an opera of Vivaldi that he never wrote, interspersed with recitatives, arias and tempests.
When German countertenor Andreas Scholl came to Australia he fell in love with the Australian Baroque orchestra so Genevieve ended up recording a CD of sacred Vivaldi music with Andreas Sholl for Decca.
I am certainly not the only one with this conviction: Genevieve is on her way to becoming an international star. Count on hearing more of this very interesting and talented young musician soon!
Photo: Genevieve Lacey