Monday, September 24, 2018


Jane Rutter, Flute
Gavi Duncan, Didgeridoo
The Street Theatre 21 September

Reviewed by Len Power

The first of three Jane Rutter ‘salons’ at The Street Theatre, ‘Flute Spirits & the Seasons’ was a delightfully relaxed evening of fine music, ranging from classical to modern and nicely judged international items in between.

Joined onstage by Aboriginal elder, Gavi Duncan, on didgeridoo, the performance commenced with ‘The Minstrel Boy’.  The combination of flute and didgeridoo produced a delicate and timeless sound that was very enjoyable.

This was followed with a nicely balanced set of works by Debussy, Vivaldi, Devienne, Irving Berlin and Ross Edwards as well as mystical Indian and melodic Irish pieces.  Electronic loops added an extra dimension to some items and Jane Rutter gave additional meaning to the music with well-spoken linking prose by writers such as Patrick White, Anaïs Nin and Persian poet, Rumi.

Everyone in the audience would no doubt have their own favourites but the standouts for me were the Chinese song, ‘Far Distant Places’, ‘Spirit of the Earth’ with the words of Patrick White from ‘Voss’, ‘Yugala – Pan and the Brolgas’, ‘Kokopelli and Esu Talk Of Home’ and Rutter’s distinctive arrangement of Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies’.

Ten solo gold, silver, bamboo classical and ethnic flutes and whistles were played during the performance with Jane Rutter giving an interesting explanation of the qualities of each of them.  With her down-to-earth, relaxed delivery, she shared her obvious love for her instruments with an audience.  There is nothing remote about her performance.  You don’t just watch her perform – she has the ability to draw you in and become part of it all.

Continuing the ‘salon’ experience in the foyer, there was champagne after the performance with the opportunity to mingle and chat with Jane Rutter, Gavi Duncan and other audience members.  Two more Jane Rutter ‘salons’ will follow in October and November.

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 22 September 2018.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.