Saturday, December 5, 2015


Music Of Michael Dooley
All Saints Church, Ainslie
28 November 2015

Review by Len Power

How could you resist “a musical Tardis transporting concert-goers from baroque-era Leipzig through four centuries of musical heritage ending in a tango hall in Argentina?”

In ‘Anachronisms’, local composer Michael Dooley delivered on his promise at All Saints Church in Ainslie with eleven original compositions in baroque, early and late classical, romantic, impressionist and modernist styles, plus a tango.  Somehow he also rounded up a dazzling group of pianists to play his compositions with him, including James Huntingford, Emily Leong, Sally Greenaway, Aaron Chew and Andrew Rumsey.

This was no stiff and formal classical concert.  It was a relaxed evening of great music with clever and witty comments coming thick and fast from the composer and the pianists, all of whom showed they could change to a career in stand up comedy if they wanted to.

There were some standout moments in the concert.  The dream-like andante grazioso movement of the Sonata in C major reminiscent of Mozart and composers of the early classical era was played beautifully by James Huntingford.  The Pilgrim Fantasia – a grand, emotional, romantic musical journey – was played brilliantly by Aaron Chew and Andrew Rumsey expertly played the challenging Toccata, written in the style of composers from the Modernist era.  The big crowd pleaser, though, was the Etude: In Pursuit Of The Mouse, a fiendishly fast and witty piece performed with gusto by James Huntingford.

The evening finished with ‘Tango In Chic’, in which all six performers managed to play this appealing work together on the one piano.  As if that wasn’t enough, James Huntingford and Andrew Rumsey danced a passionate tango together up and down the church’s centre aisle!

This review was first published in Canberra City News digital edition 30 November 2015.  Len Power's reviews can also be heard on Artsound FM's 'Artcetera' program from 9.00am Saturdays.