Thursday, September 28, 2023


Enola Jefferis (cello) - Teresa Wajcik (composer) at Smith's Alternative.

 Smith’s Alternative, September 26th.  Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

Much has been written and spoken about the response of people to the joint catastrophes of the 2019/20 bushfires and the Covid pandemic.  Canberra composer, Teresa Wojcik reacted by challenging herself to capture her deeply personal responses in music by composing a piano trio. 

Entitled “Celebrating Recalibrating”, the work was given its first public performance at Smith’s Alternative, performed by John Yoon (Piano), Anika Chan (Violin) and Enola Jefferis (Cello).

Anika Chan (Violin) - John Yoon (Piano) - Enola Jefferis (Cello)
performing "Celebrating Recalibrating"

Written as a collection of cathartic aural snapshots with titles such as “Hazy Days”, “The Doldrums”, “Virus “and “Isolation”, the sections were connected by developing interludes. The instrumental arrangements for the various sections often incorporated unusual and unexpected techniques to accurately capture the exact impression required by the composer. The challenges offered were enthusiastically embraced and interpreted by the three musicians.

For the section entitled “Cabin Fever” the musicians were required to clap off beat. Elsewhere there were delayed pauses. The final section, “A New Way Forward”, was composed in the pentatonic scale of F Sharp Major using only the black keys of the piano, which introduced an unexpected meditative oriental flavour which concluded the work on a delightfully optimistic note.

If these descriptions suggest that “Celebrating Recalibrating” is some dense, avant-garde work then they do it an injustice, because Wojcik has a gift for melody, which together with her intriguing choices of instrumentation constantly delight in the way they capture and reflect a particular mood or response.

A memorable feature of this concert was the opportunity it offered for Wojcik to introduce the various sections of her work in person. Her recollections of her moods and feelings at the time of writing “Celebrating Recalibrating” added immeasurably to the pleasure of the performance.

Anika Chan - John Chan - Enola Jefferies - Teresa Wojcik - acknowledging applause at  the conclusion of "Celebrating Recalibrating" at Smith's Alternative.

Images by Helen Musa

This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 27.09.23