Great music by professional players in an informal and friendly atmosphere
I am all for the philosophy behind Chris Cartner’s Resonance Concerts and Events. As Chris explained at this concert on Friday May 30th at the beautiful and stunningly situated Christ Church Lavender Bay, it is their intention to present interesting programs of great music by professional players in an informal and friendly atmosphere. The concerts are held in a variety of inner city venues and audience numbers are growing as their reputation advances. Following on from Chris’ recent Chopin recital as part of the series, I was looking forward to hearing his collaboration with the rising star baritone Alexander Knight. Having heard Alex play the role of Jesus in the St John Passion with the Sydney Chamber Choir two years ago, I was prepared for the shock that people experience on first hearing this superbly rich and resonant sound coming from such a young man. As Chris said, it’s not just a great voice that makes a great singer, and Alex also has an extraordinary ability to express the meaning of the words by his face and gestures. Even when singing in Russian it was possible to follow the translations and know exactly what the songs were about.
Superbly rich and resonant sound coming from such a young man
Two song cycles, the Shakespeare Songs (Let Us Garlands Bring) by British composer Gerald Finzi and Six Songs by Rachmaninoff were interspersed with British and Russian music for solo piano. The Finzi songs vary in style from serious and contemplative reflections on death, to the cheeky hey noninos of It was a lover and his lass and these were sung and accompanied with great character. One of the highlights was the final stanza of the funeral song from Cymbeline (No exerciser harm thee…..Quiet consummation have; and renowned be thy grave!) with its poignant harmonies beautifully rendered.
The Rachmaninoff songs are similarly varied in style and some of them have a very virtuosic piano accompaniment as we would expect from this great pianist and composer of piano music. The final song I’m no prophet was such a perfect summation of the singer’s art for Alex to end with: I speak in song to the heart, In which I arouse divine sparks.
We were treated to a rousing drinking song by Peter Warlock as an encore, which set the scene for a friendly glass of wine with the performers and audience under the trees in the lovely churchyard, where we could admire the lights on the Harbour Bridge.
I warmly recommend this series, which continues with a viola and piano recital by Chris and Ella Brinch.