Monday, February 27, 2023


Tasman Soloists

Art Song Canberra

Wesley Music Centre, Forrest

February 26


Reviewed by Len Power


A program contrasting love and war with the work of composers Robert Schumann and Benjamin Britten resulted in a memorable, if at times, demanding concert.

The Tasman Soloists are Kent McIntosh, tenor, Robert Johnson, horn, Sharolyn Kimmorley, piano and Rob Wilton, speaker. All of them have an impressive list of past credits and together they proved to be exceptional.

The program commenced with Schumann’s ‘Adagio and Allegro for horn and piano’. The first part was quiet and romantic and then the second part exploded with passion. It was played very well by Kimmorley on piano and Johnson on the horn. It was a great work to open the concert.

Kent McIntosh then sang Schumann’s Liederkreis Opus 39.  An imposing man, McIntosh sang the first two parts with great feeling and delicacy, then startled with the power of his voice in the finale of the third part, ‘Dialogue In The Woods’. His fine performance was also notable for the way he maintained the feeling of the songs during piano interludes. The intention of each song was clear and performed with honest emotion as well as a strong technical ability.

Kimmorley’s accompaniment to this song cycle was very impressive, bringing out all the sentiment and emotion in the music.

The major work of the second half of the program was Britten’s ‘The Heart Of The Matter’. First performed in 1956, the Edith Sitwell poems were read by Rob Wilton, a Canberran teacher who studied history and politics at the ANU and University of Sydney. His readings of the poems were nicely down to earth and made an instant connection with the audience.

From left: Rob Wilton (speaker), Sharolyn Kimmorley (piano), Kent McIntosh (tenor) and Robert Johnson (horn)

McIntosh demonstrated an amazing breath control and clarity with the sung parts of this vocally demanding work. His singing of the Canticle part, ‘Still Falls The Rain’, was haunting. In addition, the piano accompaniment by Kimmorley and the fanfares on the horn by Johnson added another dimension to this extraordinary work.

Refreshingly, after the demanding ‘The Heart Of The Matter’, McIntosh sang three English folk songs. His long experience in opera was clearly demonstrated with his ability to breathe life and character into these songs. ‘The Oak and the Ash’ was particularly well sung. The piano and horn accompaniment was excellent.

The concert finished with McIntosh’s beautiful singing of the well-known aria,‘Oh, is there not one maiden breast’, from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.


Photo by Peter Hislop

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 27 February.

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at