The works in this concert were by predominantly Cuban, Mexican, Peruvian, Uruguayan, Venezuelan and Spanish composers performed by Henry Avila on violin and Irma Enrequez on piano.
The concert began with a reading by Buswell of some sections of her poems (Song of the journey-woman-Prelude and Traffic) evoking her personal experience of the everyday and of moving through a city.
South American dreaminess in the grand acoustics of the Great Hall at Sydney University
Most of the music was by South American composers and characterised by frenetic action that is typical of busy cities. I expected some sexy Latin swagger, but this was not what this concert was all about.
Jorge Grundman’s First Rays of Light on Wet Asphalt started as a dreamy piece and was delicately played, as moving images of Sydney were projected above. Musical dreaminess gave way to pulsing life and ecstatic soaring phrases played into the grand acoustics of the Great Hall; one of my favourite concert venues.
World premieres representing city perspectives
Two world premieres followed. Un Recuerdo by Guido López Gavilán presented a more lyrical view of the city showing images from Cuba, while Sadiel Cuentas’ Traffic by contrast struck a more strident tone with accompanying images from the Peruvian mountains and its people. It progressed through the movements to different scenes like a coastal road and then a crowded market, both in fast-forward video.
Jacqueline’s poems Cityscape and Metropolis explored what it means to be denizens; bringing us the wide variety of experience that cities offer.
Venezuelan composer Luisa Elena Paesano’s piece Gavon con Revuelta, had wild arpeggios and contrasting short and long phrases reflecting the variety and vibrancy of city life.
Eduardo Gamboa’s Mientras Llueve was an initial repose from the city with mountain scenes, followed again by fast forward streets in a mountain city which I did not recognise; presumably Mexico. It returned to tranquility with clouds moving over the surrounding mountains.
My favourite piece was by the one Australian composer – Elena Kats-Chernin’s City Whispers. Again with fast-forward video projections of Sydney, this time accompanied by shimmering right and pulsing left hand on the piano, with a lyrical obbligato in the violin. This was also a world premiere, commissioned by Duo Deconet.
Silence by Uruguayan composer Miguel del Aquila finished the concert on a calm note. Images projected were of huge oceanic surging and crashing waves, this time in slow motion. Although the piece did reach grand dynamics, it was a beautiful and tranquil end to an interesting concert.