Embarking on a four country tour of Southern Europe with trumpeter Paul Goodchild could have been a daunting experience – travel connections, different languages and currencies, rehearsal schedules – can all create problems but we had a delightful time, musically, socially and of great importance, being part of a cultural exchange between music communities that do not have an extensive history of cross-musical activities.
Croatian tour host, Tomislav Spoljar had not only lined up a concert in Zagreb, introductions to music festival directors in Slovenia, Serbia and Albania, but had engaged the virtuoso pianist Kristina Bjelopavlovic Cesar to accompany Paul. The Australian embassies in Croatia and in Serbia gave great assistance bringing together venues and generally smoothing the way.
In concerts in the Hall of Croatian Composers, the Music Academy in Slovenia, the grand and highly decorative City Hall in Belgrade and in the Tirana Music Academy, Paul and Kristina were masterful in sonatas by Bohuslav Martinu and Jean Hubeau and in Michael Nyman’s ‘Flugelhorn and Piano’. The Martinu, a ‘knock your socks’ concert opener, received so much applause there were several ‘return to stage’ bows – unusual for the first work in a program.
Written especially for this tour Melbourne composer Eve Duncan’s ‘Deep in Summer‘ is a jazz-inspired miniature that has the capacity to mesmerise the listener. I have now heard ‘Deep in Summer‘ in 7 concerts and it unfolds more and more with each playing, surely the sign of a composition with depth and meaning.
Paul played two of my works, the short ‘Blue Triangle‘ for solo flugelhorn and the trumpet solo, ‘Ornithologia‘, the piece that made possible my earlier Southern European concert visits in 2012 and 2014 and now again with Paul.
‘Ornithologia‘ was premiered at the International Trumpet Guild conference at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2010 and the Croatian delegate Tomislav Spoljar enjoyed Paul’s exemplary performance so much that he invited me to Zagreb for concerts and to be the featured composer at his 2014 Velika Gorica Brass Festival. Paul has again been sensational in his performances of ‘Ornithologia‘ creating scenes where performers and composers are keen to discuss the work and it’s difficulty long after the concert finish time.
Another great thing from this tour has been the radio and television recordings that have occurred. Receiving messages from Croatia that I had been seen in a news broadcast from Albania. Love it that cultural activities still carry some weight here as opposed to the current environment in Australia. Paul’s performances will be broadcast on Serbian radio and on Albanian radio and television.
Trumpeter Paul Goodchild and composer Alan Holley are on tour May, 2016
The photos are from the Belgrade concert.