THE CROSSING MACHINE CONCERT NEW website review by Sam Bell
The waning covid restrictions have heralded the return of many great things, not least of which is the Melbourne art and music scenes resurrecting themselves and rising from the ashes of isolation. It was a long time coming, but getting to see The Crossing Machine live at Tempo Rubato was well worth the wait. For those of you unfortunate enough to be uninitiated, The Crossing Machine is one of Melbourne’s new musical sensations. A string quartet, formed of well-established artists bringing their own unique touches to not only well-known compositions, but the new stuff as well.
The quartet started the night with a set of movements as touching as they were exciting, calling Australian composer Stuart Greenbaum to the stage to introduce his symphony. Telling the tale of a young boys tragic death after falling from his bike, Light From Distant Stars was as melancholy as could be expected, setting the scene and sombre tone that would carry on throughout evenings slow drift backwards through time.
A drift which quickly lead to the work of Alexander Borodin and his well-known movement Nocturne. Together the group use the pieces peaceful melody to lull the crowd into a state of vulnerability before shocking them with the piece’s sharper modulations. Keeping the crowd on their toes and ensuring everyone is paying attention to how well they are doing the Russian composer justice.
Not that there was any question of how skilled the ladies of the evening were once they moved on to Austrian composer Franz Schubert and his cyclical love letter in A minor, Rosamunde Quartet. From the moving and melancholy first movement, to the frenetic and somewhat chaotic second, all the way to the oddly symmetrical third, and the fourth that brings it all together as only a master can. The Crossing Machine are there to guide the audience on their musical journey through time and tonality.
Those that were able to make it will remember the evening for years to come, and those who missed out had better hope they do a repeat. The art of music has returned to Melbourne and The Crossing Machine is leading the charge.
BIG WEATHER NEW website review: Katherine Kelly photos: Erkin Kalayco
Big Weather Ian Potter Gallery (12 March – 21 October 2021) Admission free
In early March this year, I attended the opening of the Big Weather exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Big Weather represents creative works by 50 indigenous artists, which reflect their relationship to the natural world.
In his welcoming address NGV’s Director, Tony Ellwood, AM, stated that “Big Weather will present works that speak to specific historical and contemporary environmental events that shape Australia’s diverse landscape”.
We were welcomed by Bolngu – the Thunderman 2020 by Johnny Yirryyirmgu of Elcho island, North East Arnhem Land. Also on the welcoming committee was John Mawurndjul’s 1992 painting Namarrkon ngal-daluk, depicting the female lightning spirit – a formidable spirit who strikes lightning to the earth, hailing the arrival of the wet season to the Kuninjku people of Western Arnhem land.
Hannah Presley, Curator of Indigenous Art at the NGV led an extremely informative tour of the collection which was divided into four sections, Fire, Water and Flooding, Air and Wind. She created the exhibition during the 2019-2020’s bushfires. She planned to open this exhibition in March 2020, but due to inevitable circumstances, it opened on 12 March this year. The themes of this exhibition are still relevant one year later.
Clinton Naina (Meriam Mir) gave a brief expose on his works including Stolen Climate, which won the Premier’s award at the 2020 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Stolen Climate is a 4 panel work depicting the orange hues of fire on black. He linked climate change to the effects and impacts of colonisation over the past 200 years. “Our land, culture, climate has been stolen - everything including imperialism, colonisation and the bleaching over 200 years”.
Albert Namatjira’s watercolour traditions of landscape in Central Australia have been passed down to grandson Seth Namatjira. How important it is to these artists that they pass on their landscape connections to future generations.
Other punchy ideas and topics that we all should be talking about is the climate. Especially in the Torres Strait islands where the Willy Willy circular wind blows, climate is critical where birds can predict the weather systems by the altitude at which they are flying.
In the animal areas, there are several nets used that Animals extraordinarily Woven nets used for fishing. Foley Loss of Dugongs. Loss of animals.
The water and flooding section depicts changes in our river systems. It talks about the role of the decline of darling river plains, through the interventions that have happened to this system.
Big Weather is an important exhibition which suggests how different Australia’s natural environment could have been if it had not been for the short-sighted rapacious attitudes of our colonisers.
MELBOURNE COMEDY FESYIVAL: ROSS PURDY RAINBOW PISS NEW website review by Marina Sklyar
What a great idea it was to have ten comedians instead of one!
The Ross Purdy's show was fabulous! The fact that the comedians were not prepared, but rather given different spontaneous responses what the show was going to be about. It was a very original approach. It made the performance quite spicy, funny, and unpredictable.
One hour enjoying it went in a moment. The comedians deserve much bigger venue and bigger audience considering their professionalism.
They absolutely deserve a much bigger stage. My favourite part was the impression of Scott Morrison: it was such a classics!
Please invite me for your next performance, guys, as I am turning into your number one fan now!
It was an absolute joy to watch you, guys, to laugh together with you and to share those special moments. Thank you so much! I look forward to the next year show!
MELBOURNE COMEDY FESTIVAL: ALICE TOVEY - DOGGO NEW website review by Marina Sklyar
Experimental musical comedy, Doggo is show by Alice Tovey, a vibrant, young woman, full of energy and emotions. With a catchy blend of burlesque theater, Alice's performance is funny, sexy when the actress is not afraid to show what she has. She is one and only singing comedian, Her jokes are unique, twisted and have double meaning. Don’t be afraid to: ~ reduce your sex appeal ~ re-use the jokes ~ recycle jokes for next time! We absolutely loved it and recommend it to everyone to see!
NGV: SHE-OAK AND SUNLIGHT : AUSTRALIAN IMPRESSIONISM website review by Natasha Lukin
THE RESURRECTION OF MELBOURNIANS’ PASSION FOR THE ART.
On the 1st of April an opening of the She-Oak and Sunlight exhibition dedicated to the Australian Impressionism was announced by Tony Ellwood, the Director on the Notional Galleries of Victoria. The exhibition is now available for public viewing at the Ian Potter Art Gallery of NGV, in Federation Square.
The media gathered there in large numbers as that was a first massive exhibition after last year Melbourne’s five-month lockdown. Everything was stopped and closed then, and our beautiful city looked like a ghost town. Therefore, it felt like a resurrection of Melbournian’s passion for the art.
Tony Ellwood stated that more than 250 artworks by the Australian artists are on display: a staggering number of artworks encompassing various styles and manners related to impressionism.
Among them there are many works by the most famous Australian masters such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts. The iconic painting “Shearing the Rams" by Tom Roberts became one of the most well-known and loved paintings in the history of Australian art. Certainly, it is one of the centrepieces of the current exhibition.
Roberts finished Shearing the Rams in May 1890 and unveiled it at his studio at Grosvenor Chambers on Collins Street, Melbourne. In newspapers of that era, in 1890, it was proclaimed that “Shearing the Rams is a work that will live, and a work by which Mr. Roberts' name will always be remembered”.
No wonder it always attracts attention of the public although there were many outstanding works by many other talented painters.
Arthur Streeton is one of the great Australian impressionists and he worked mainly in a classical impressionism manner, depicting wonderful landscapes and genre scenes. His paintings are full of light and the nature was what inspired him the most.
I would love to name all the participants but that is nearly impossible because of the number of works. The best way to get familiar with them and indulge in their artworks is to visit that incredible exhibition. It will be open till 22 August but be ready to spend there a couple of hours to soak in the atmosphere of the gallery and a feast of colours and images. The experience truly exceeded all my expectations. Therefore, I share with you and wish you to get the same pleasure as I got from these wonderful works, as well as from the preparation, design and organization of the exhibition.
ZELMAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA website review and photo: Sylvester Kroyherr
REVIEW OF CONCERT BY THE ZELMAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – “No friend but the mountains – A Symphonic Song Cycle” (World Premiere), given at: The Sydney Myer Music Bowl on 21/3/2021. Conductor: Rick Prakhoff, with The Melbourne Bach Choir and Soloist: Adrian Tamburini (Bass-Baritone). Composer: Luke Styles, Librettist: Behrouz Boochani (Ex-Detainee & Kurdish-Iranian journalist – Music based on bestselling book: ‘No friend but the mountains’), Guest Concertmaster: Wilma Smith, Concertmaster: Susan Pierotti, Presenter & Interviewer: Rafael Epstein, Ex-Detainee: Farhad Bandesh.
The concert began in the rain that continued for the duration. Sitting outside in a small contained area (6 chairs each) wearing a plastic poncho and wielding an umbrella was not exactly the way to appreciate this concert – plus being far from the stage and screens!! However steamy and uncomfortable, we stuck it out with great difficulty sustaining sore backs and butts!! Following a brief welcome by Rafael, he presented a pre-recorded segment of Behrouz in conversation from New Zealand, revealing some of the horrors of being a detainee on Manus Island. The programme continued with Farhad and a small ensemble, namely ‘A song from detention – The Big Exhale’. Although not a polished singer, Farhad’s performance was moving and confronting, highlighting the importance of freedom.
With the rain continuing, the main event kicked off, namely ‘No friend but the mountains’, this being a Kurdish proverb – signifying betrayal, abandonment and loneliness of the Kurds! The powerful and expressive voice of Adrian was ably supported by the orchestra and the choir – technically very difficult music to read and interpret. The bulk of the text centred on negativity, namely - chaos, hell, futility, disaster, drowning, starvation, screaming, terror, pain etc... Consequently, the piece lacked colour and variation – especially tempo! The injection of some positive emotions like joy, laughter and kindness would have given more variety to the composition. On a critical note, monotony could have been avoided by transposing the cruel disharmonies into some hopeful tender sweetness. Undoubtedly the music and lyrics aimed at depicting doom and gloom enfolding agonizingly slowly to paint the sounds of horror!! The frequent flight of helicopters overhead did not add to performance, while the squawking of the seagulls and cockies/parrots did not enhance the atmosphere either! It appears that there were a number of refugees in the audience, including myself from 1956 (Hungary) – this adding to the credibility and importance of the meaning of freedom. Luke Styles’ (composer) aim to achieve “a range of colours, darkness of incarceration, but the lightness and joy of seeing a child playing....” was not achieved in my opinion. Yes it was moving, confronting and life affirming!!
It is important to note that “Oppression is not random but purposeful, designed to isolate and create fiction amongst prisoners, leading to despair and broken spirits”. In conclusion, the hour plus performance was simply too confronting and too long. A better introduction of history and background events could have been useful for everyone. The concert ended abruptly with no note of sign off from the host Rafael!! Congratulations to the prolific and energetic Rick Prakhoff, the well balanced Melbourne Bach Choir, Adrian Tamburini (of Babi Yar fame - 2017) and the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, as we look forward to future events. A trying, wet but exciting and enriching concert – well done everyone, including all the volunteers! (No thanks to the helicopters & birds)
SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Musician - Bohemian Rhapsody Club). 29 March 2021.