Distinctly totally different flavour to 4 Winds pageant

The 4 Winds Pageant Orchestra carried out by Ben Northy. Photograph: David Rogers

Music / 4 Winds Pageant, Barragga Bay, Bermagui. April 7-9. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.

THERE was a distinctly totally different flavour to this yr’s 4 Winds pageant at Bermagui and it had so much to do with the truth that its new inventive director, Matthew Hoy, is a working instrumentalist.

A cellist from Melbourne who was beforehand creative director for  the pageant’s umbrella organisation, Hoy has stepped up this yr, changing Lindy Hume after her two years within the position.

By a community-funded program of residencies for rising musicians and by participating  high musicians from across the nation, he created the 4 Winds Pageant Orchestra.

At  instances augmented with instrumentalists from the Australian Artwork Orchestra and the Australian String Quartet, it was, when working at full energy,  tagged  the “Barragga Bay Philharmonia.”

Matthew Hoy, inventive director. Photograph: David Rogers.

Having a constant orchestra gave Hoy the scope to discover his thematic concept of “polyphony,” actually which means “quite a lot of sounds,” as he strove to maintain previous audiences and appeal to new ones. An affable host on the outside mike, he was typically seen ducking again to his cello to carry out with the band.

The payoff got here within the number of works the pageant conductor, Ben Northey, had rehearsed on-site for every week previous the primary pageant, treating audiences to each much-loved works from the European repertoire and newer composition.

I used to be solely capable of attend two of the pageant’s three days, so can not touch upon each efficiency, however among the many highlights for me was the music cycle “Penelope”, American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s tackle Homer’s “Odyssey”, poetic reflections by the spouse of a person affected by war-induced PTSD after an absence of 20 years. Carried out with delicate, affecting refinement by vocalist Georgie Davidis and  a chamber ensemble chosen from the broader orchestra, it was a compelling work that teetered between pop and up to date classical music.

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Jess Hitchcock. Photograph: David Rogers.

A packed home underneath the celebrities on the Saturday night time started with songstress Jess Hitchcock, supported by guitar and violin, performing ballads from her new album, whereas additionally revealing in her decisions that her secret want is to develop into a rustic star.

However the centrepiece of the night time was Anna Meredith’s composition “Moon”, the place the complete orchestra supporting soul singer Ngaiire, who appeared clad as a pop diva and calling out to the viewers “Hey, Bermagui” earlier than a lower than charming efficiency.

Sunday morning’s sunshine provided the pageant’s conventional audiences an agreeable orchestral interlude of “outside” music, the spotlight of which was a jaunty rendition of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”. An ideal piece of programming, though the Stravinsky and Prokofiev that adopted have been fulfilling, too.

That was adopted by a contemplative recital of music by Max Richter, Iceland’s Hildur Guðnadóttir and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, additionally with the complete orchestra.

More and more poor climate meant diminished time for the scheduled solo recital by visiting flautist Lisa Andonovska and native hip-hop artist, Gabadu, but it surely was nonetheless a uncommon deal with to listen to Gabadu’s skilled double-time tribute to close by Wallaga Lake performed with the complete backing of a reside orchestra. Extra, please.

Umbrellas have been out when Jess Hitchcock returned to the stage with the complete orchestra to carry out, with crystal-clear voice, “One Music”, numbers by her late mentor Archie Roach, sung for the primary time since his loss of life, she mentioned. This touching recital was a excessive level.

The finale, witnessed by a crowd of tenacious music-lovers in ponchos, noticed songmen David Yipininy Wilfred and Daniel Ngukurr Boy Wilfred take centre stage. They’d travelled 15 hours from southern Arnhem Land to Bermagui for the pageant and now, supported by the complete Barragga Bay Philharmonia, they carried out “Wata”, a seven-part incantation to a composition by Paul Grabowsky, who was himself on the keyboard. He  informed the viewers he hoped it might take its place within the “manikay” repertoire of the NT for future ceremonial occasions.

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Responding to criticism some years in the past that this pageant was elitist, the 4 Winds staff have taken pains to incorporate strong native content material and specifically the Djinama Yilaga choir of First Nations artists.

As he wraps up, Hoy can really feel happy with himself and his spectacular crew of volunteers, who offered an fulfilling, well-catered occasion, even catering severely for teenagers.

However he’ll little doubt be understanding how additional to analyze the artwork of being all issues to all viewers members.


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Ian Meikle, editor