Contra Concerts - Sonic Beethoven

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Posted 2021-06-13 by John Andrewfollow

Fri 11 Jun 2021

"As a voyager of the keys, Raineri is courageous. He doesn't shy away from risk in his drive towards dramatic moments." Limelight Magazine, 2018"(Raineri is)..a brilliant young musician who presents with enthralling musicianship and interpretation, not only through the hands and fingers, but with noticeably everchanging subtle control of both soft and damper pedals." Otago Times, 2019 "Jonathan Henderson's masterful rendition … quickly reveals what this seasoned performer is capable of. The delicate sounds, made only possible with the flautist's own breath, presented the raw and living connection between the audience and the music. In Henderson's hands, one note at a time, the music soared.. Brisbane Stage, December 2019

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. And those who can't teach, criticise.

That aphorism, more witty than accurate, nonetheless has more than a grain of insight. It is all too easy to attempt dominance by nit-picking on minor imperfections.

And what your aged reviewer would prefer to do instead is to celebrate the excellence that he experienced during "Sonic Beethoven".

In his Contra Concerts, Jonathon Henderson has established a niche, and a following. We look forward to more offerings with imaginative programming, well-chosen venues, and superb musicianship.

With an international career that is already stellar as a performer, which has also managed to include a PhD, Jonathon is a force to be reckoned with.

While with a few years still to go before reaching 30, Alex (the internet tells us) is the pianist with the Southern Cross Soloists and other notable chamber partnerships include; Andreas Ottensamer, eighth blackbird, ELISION, Sara Macliver, Natalie Clein, Greta Bradman, Li Wei Qin, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Jack Liebeck, Kathryn Stott, Slava Grigoryan, Brett Dean and many others.

So there is a lot to celebrate simply (in these post lockdown days) in having the opportunity of coming together to hear musicians of this calibre.

Beethoven's "Serenade in D" highlights aspects of the composer that people familiar with the later Beethoven might find unexpected - a playful indulgence in joyful melody, and an opportunity for dazzling displays of virtuosity. "Passion" is often the keyword for Beethoven. In this serenade, it is surely "delight".

Raineri is superb in Beethoven's "Rage over a lost penny" - by no means understating the "compact cheeky romp" while thoroughly exploiting his heavy gravitas, This performance has exaggeration at its essence. Just wonderful.

Happily, not long after our lunar eclipse, we were treated to a world premiere of "Heavenly Bodies" by Lisa Cheney. This was a piece on the edge of your aged reviewer's comfort zone - and none the worse for that. I closed my eyes and listened for "magic, struggle and wonderment". T S Eliot said that good poetry should communicate before it is understood, and the same perhaps should be said of music. I was in awe as the musicians took me to new worlds. I cannot claim to have understood, but then I did not need to.

This would also apply to Paul Dean's "Falling Ever Deeper", a piece (the composer's notes tell us) that tells us about "crisis, isolation and moving on". Flute and piano gave us an unforgettable and extended emotional scream in the opening movement, so powerful as to colour the entirety of the composition. A clearly thrilled composer congratulated the musicians amid the enthusiastic applause of the audience.

Yes, there was much to celebrate.

!date 11/06/2021 -- 11/06/2021
128695 - 2023-06-13 05:13:00


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