NIGHT ONE: to the earth
Spring Hill Reservoir
8 July 2017
music for string quartet + cavernous spaces
John Luther Adams Canticles to the Sky^
Chris Perren a luminous moment, unfolded*
Philip Glass String Quartet No. 5
Connor D’Netto String Quartet No. 2 in E minor
Bec Todd live visuals
The concert began with a rather calm, atmospheric opening. The subtle graphics that accompanied the program allowed tension to build over each piece. The works were individually presented, yet comprehensively connected. The reflective imagery and lighting contrasts continued to deliver its core message – earth, air and nature. The choice of the underground venue was also well suited to the theme.
The musicians were purposely placed in the centre of the stage, allowing the audience to experience both visual and sonorous satisfaction. The concert was designed to take listeners through a multi-channel, sophisticated experienced and it was indeed successful in portraying this through music. More detailed program notes would have enhanced and broadened the whole spectrum and tell a more impressive story, but overall, it was a delightful way to spend an evening with such a cultivated presentation in Spring Hill Reservoir.
Review by Australian Piano Duo
Dr. Vicky Yang & Maggie Chen
NIGHT TWO: to the sky
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
9 July 2017
music for strings, synths + stars
Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Green + Connor D’Netto + Joshua Rivory
The Queensland Music Festival concert on the 9 July 2017 starred (excuse the pun), Argo – known for their immersive art music – and Camerata, Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra. It was held in one of the most unusual spaces I’ve ever encountered a music concert, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
When entering the Planetarium, one is met with space memorabilia, including an astronaut’s suit, newspaper clippings about the various moon landings and miniature space craft. The pictures on the wall were so fascinating that we missed the entrance to the theatrette and had to walk right around in a circle until we reached the entrance again.
I thought we had arrived early, but almost all the audience were already seated in the round, facing the planetarium projector in the middle. The excitement was palpable. What an unknown! This was the first time the planetarium had been used for a music concert. So it was an auspicious occasion and we knew there was going to be a complete lock out, so we all took our seats early.
The lights went down. Everyone lay back in their seats, and although I was a bit apprehensive in this position (I attribute this conditioning to various painful dentist visits), I eventually relaxed and started to enjoy the visual and auditory show.
The composition by Connor D’Netto, Joshua Rivory and Thomas Green entitled to the sky, was as mesmerising as the display of stars and planets unfolding on the ceiling. I almost didn’t realise that there were live musicians placed around the room; the musicians blended in so well with the electronics. Or perhaps the electronics blended in well with the musicians! Either way, it was a seamless performance by Camerata and Argo.
The music reminded me of a film score. It effectively built tension and curiosity as the different images of planets and stars appeared and disappeared on the screen. It certainly made you think. The Earth is just one planet and there are so many other planets, solar systems and stars out there. We are quite insignificant!
I love it when I go to a concert and I become so immersed in the music or experience, that a completely left-of-field idea pops into my head. At this concert, I started thinking about the unknown power of music. This is because some of the electronic sounds and the clicks made by the string players on the wooden parts of their instruments, sounded like a form of communication, perhaps from aliens! I began to wonder about other life forms. There must be other beings out there. When we do meet them, I don’t think our spoken language or even body language is going to help us. Music may be the only language that will enable us to communicate, convey intent and emotions, keep everyone calm, and hopefully help us become friends.
My only disappointment during the concert, was that the tension-building wasn’t resolved. There was no denouement in the music, or dramatic section, dare I say like Holst’s Jupiter. Perhaps if the planetarium could have conjured up a spaceship, aliens or a planet exploding, the music may have taken a different turn! Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and the experience and I hope that more concerts will be held at the Planetarium.
We spoke with Connor D’Netto after the concert and heard that he will be unfortunately leaving Australia to study, but he will be going to London to study at the London College of Music. So we wish him all the best in his future career.
So this concert was auspicious in more ways than one. Argo have taken one small step at the Planetarium, that could potentially be a giant leap in their overall music careers worldwide.
Review by Anne Lee-Archer
Photo courtesy Karen Hutt