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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | December 9, 2023

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Rosewood meets Steel in Brisbane Music Festival

Rosewood meets Steel in Brisbane Music Festival
Claire Matthews

Rosewood met steel in the opening concert of Brisbane Music Festival on Friday night. Percussionist Claire Edwardes joined pianist Alex Raineri for a dynamic program.

The Brisbane Music Festival, directed by Raineri, will feature 44 events, 52 creatives, and 17 world premieres, held across 16 venues in 2022. This year, the theme of the festival is ‘old meets new’. It will present fresh and contemporary works alongside the well-loved classical works of the past.

I attended the festival opening on Friday, in the Salvation Army Temple on Ann St. Located in the heart of the city, this small church is like a refuge from the noise. It was a cosy and intimate setting, perfect for chamber music.

Alex and Claire had put together a program that celebrated new and contemporary percussion works by Australian and international composers.

The program began with Ritournelle, by contemporary Australian composer Cyrus Meurant. This piece had a repeated refrain that wove in and out of the melody. Alex and Claire played this work with real sensitivity.

Claire then took the stage for three solo pieces, Anne Cawrse’s Scamper & Scoot, Peggy Polias’ Receptor and the world premiere of Nicole Lizeé’s Ribbon Windows A. These pieces ranged from upbeat and quirky to sombre and reflective.

Inspired by the Australian bushfires of 2019-20, Ella Macens’ Falling Embers explored fleeting last moments. It featured Claire on solo vibraphone. It had an atmospheric, floating feel, depicting final embers falling through the sky.

Next, was the world premiere of Alex Turley’s Rosewood & Steel, for marimba and piano. The instruments mirrored each other, before breaking off into countermelodies. The repetitive patterns gradually became unhinged and fell apart. 

Claire closed the concert with Iannis Xenakis’ Rebonds A, a seminal work of the percussion canon. This deeply emotional work used bongos, bass-drum, and tom-toms in a complex, multilayered rhythm. Claire certainly seemed to enjoy performing this piece, and poured out all her passion.

Alex and Claire presented a thoroughly entertaining evening of percussion. It was refreshing to hear new and contemporary works, performed to such a high standard. The concert was the perfect way to unwind on a rainy evening.

Coming Up

Resonant Fractures: Featuring Miriam Niessl, Drew Gilchrist, Daniel Shearer, Alex Raineri, on 20 & 22 July, at the Bowen Studio in New Farm. Learn more here.

Both Sides Now: Featuring Tabatha McFadyen and Alex Raineri, on 30 July at the Bowen Studio in New Farm. Learn more here.

Discover the Brisbane Music Festival’s 2022 program here.

Images supplied.