Julian Wagner - Brisbane writer and musician c/- Wagner Musicians and Promotions Pty Ltd (ABN 50161875261) which provides string quartets and other classical musicians for weddings and other special events and promotes and reviews concerts
Virtuoso pianist David Helfgott is yet again conquering Australian concert halls with the enigmatic Maestro's 2013 National Tour of classical music greats!
With the first of an incredible 23 concerts having recently kicked off to a packed and mesmerised Ipswich audience, why not quickly treat yourself to Helfgott's next concert at 8 pm (sharp) on Wednesday 7 August 2013 at the Redcliffe Civil Centre? Indeed, why not reward yourself with a 'get away' to one of the Australian Tour's great concert locations (Check out www.davidhelfgott.com and for ticketing information see www.amckinnon.com.au). After all, Helfgott's legendary rendition of The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky Korsakov is but one of the enthralling drawcards during the virtuoso's 2013 musical circumnavigation of Australia.
In outlining what Helfgott has in store for you, it's also opportune to add a twist or variation to the classical music theme so as to rebuff some recent comments that too many Australians believe that life revolves around sport and that they have no time to support fellow Australians who devote their life to classical music. Worst still, it is said that our next generation will have no appreciation for such time honoured music (as European youngsters do) least of all know who Beethoven was or even be able to pronounce Mozart's name correctly.
Yet as recently seen at Helfgott's Ipswich concert, both young and old alike (and many 'in betweeners') from all backgrounds, immensely appreciated the classical music. Rapturous applause and whistling was almost never ending. It was joyously as if Helfgott had just captained the Queensland Maroons State of Origin winning team (despite, heaven forbid, the brilliant pianist actually being from New South Wales!).
If that's not enough, diehard sports enthusiasts who've been enthralled at past Helfgott concerts would more than agree that the classical music dynamo can put a finetuned Yamaha (i.e. a Yamaha Grand Piano) through passion filled daredevil paces akin to a Phillip Island abuzz Yamaha mega CC motorcycle and still win everyone over with a 'thumbs up.'
Not surprisingly, last Saturday night's rendition of Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata saw Helfgott yet again claim virtuosic victory in the Allegro final lap (the famous last movement Coda). It was also as though audience members were awe struck spectators at an Olympic Games gymnastic event or as if they had witnessed an Evel Knievel of the piano! The now 66 year old Helfgott, after all, is still so much at the top of his game. Indeed he'll probably still be in virtuosic overdrive at one hundred years of age (hitting 'a century' to use cricket parlance).
Whilst classical music is 'not quite cricket', many cricket enthusiasts who also love classical music agree that Helfgott strikes a chord with the ease, grace and striking flare of Sir Donald Bradman (ironically himself a fine pianist). The Ipswich concert innings on 3 August 2013 opened with Helfgott diving straight into Bach's Italian Concerto and easily swimming through the monumental musical notes as a mere 'warm up' as if Helfgott, also a devoted swimmer, was able to ride the waves of any compositional challenge.
In addition to the late cricket and music 'all rounder' Sir Donald Bradman, many other sporting legends greatly appreciate classical music whether it be Helfgott or lesser known performers as much as 'pop' music. Without blowing one's own trumpet, it was indeed an all round joy to play classical music, a decade or so ago, to many an AFL sporting identity with my Wagner String Quartet at the wedding reception for Jason Akermanis.
Helfgott's death defying rendition of Franz Liszt's Dante Sonata (one of the most difficult piano works ever composed) as well as other iconic compositions by Liszt such as the alluring Hungarian gypsy toned Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C-Sharp Minor also guarantee to have you on the edge of your seat during his 2013 National Tour. The virtuosic list includes Liszt's pianistic take on the immortal violinist Paganini's La Campanella (Italian for 'little bell') complete with Helfgott's own tastefully added carnival akin fun loving elaborations and ever so slight improvisations. The famous La Campanella theme will more than ring a bell. With Helfgott in the (piano) driving seat of his whooshing and zooming Formula 1 akin Australian concert circuit he makes the Australian Grand Prix circuit seem like a laid back drive down the road.
Many will know of Helfgott through the Academy award winning movie 'Shine' (1996) where this genuinely inspirational keyboard Olympian was given a truly sporting chance in rightfully returning to the concert pianist stage not only through the help of Perth's wonderful Dr Chris Reynolds but especially given the endless love and perpetual support of another truly extraordinary Australian, his wife, Gillian Helfgott. Rest assured, you too will give a 'thumbs up' during David Helfgott's 2013 Tour as much as your favourite sporting team or hero and also ensure that classical music deservedly also goes on to forever live in the hearts of all Australians as much as sport.
We've had tickets for this for around six months now. Helfgott will be in Melbourne in October and I am looking forward to it immensely. Thanks for the review, although I am not a fan of describing such a legend in sporting terms - there is already too much emphasis on sport in this country ...