Thursday, February 11, 2010

Late One from 2009 – Stella Wilkie

Very late last year, I attended two performances which somehow were not reviewed in the mainstream press. Both deserve comment.

First, the Canberra New Music Ensemble, Klavierstucke, a piano recital by Margaret Legge-Wilkinson, was  performed on 29 November at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture at 3 pm (note: a very useful venue). Since I am not a musician, I am not formally qualified to review it, but as there was no review published, it should at least be recorded,  particularly since ABC FM Classic played a recording by Margaret the day before, and gave exact details of time and venue of the concert. There is a hope that the concert may be repeated in Melbourne this year.

It was a magnificent programme: Klavierstucke IX and VII by Stockhausen, Preludes 10 and 1 by Rachmaninoff, Sonata in B minor by Liszt, Echoes by Stephanos Malikides and Transcendental and Heavenly Birds by Legge-Wilkinson.  This listener tries to understand 'new' music as a self-training project and found herself really enjoying the Stockhausen pieces immensely. Both the Rachmaninoff and Liszt were new to me, and strangely, more difficult to 'get' than the Stockhausen. The pieces by Legge-Wilkinson and Malikides I had heard before.

This was a really meaty concert and deserved a review.  I am appalled that months of hard work in preparation ending in a performance of world stature should appear without a word of critical comment.

Another performance, this one in a genre for which I am qualified to review, was  On Course at the QL2 Centre for Youth Dance, 12 and 13 December 2009. This was reviewed, I understand. The programme was presented by QL2 students who are now in tertiary study - mostly 1st or 2nd year at such places as VCA, WAAPA  and QUT. I was delighted with their work, both as choreographers and dancers. Each choreographer presented his or her work beforehand, explaining the background and purpose of the piece. Dance themes varied between abstract relationships, emotions and perceptions and more basic subjects, such as personal experiences - Sleep, about two brothers sharing a bedroom for too long! - and Hello. My Name is . . ..  I could not fault either the choreography or the performance ability, which ranged from classical to modern to jazz. I was also pleased to see that the students actually danced, as opposed to showing off their physical skills - an increasingly tiresome feature of many professional shows.

On Course was a credit to the work that QL2 instigates. Ruth Osbourne has, I believe, created a unique environment where young students can both learn and experiment without pressure and absorb a discipline which will stand them in good use for a lifetime.