Post by Dick Letts, April 6th, 2015
A very inventive production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Art Gallery of NSW carried a few surprises. Jig’s was a bit disorientated for the first couple of scenes, eventually realising that Orpheus and Euridice were a same-sex couple.
The vision was complete: the other principals were women and the only (two) male supernumeraries were dressed in frocks so this was an entirely female underworld.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We’ll have to ask Tony.
The US-based International Songwriting Competition has just announced that 62 of this year’s finalists are Australian. Last year, it had 18,000 entries; we guess 2015 will have a similar number. “Finalist” must be a term generously applied at the ISC. But some of our already best-known contemporary musicians have entered and won in past years.
Easter greetings ... According to expat Aussie comedian Chris Bearde, “a time when you’re attempting to explain to really bright young kids the connection between chocolate bunnies and the resurrection of Jesus”.
Andrew Ford’s radio series interviewing film composers is being rebroadcast on ABC RN on Sundays at 11am and 10pm. On Easter Sunday there was an interview with Sally Porter, an English film director who also writes or contributes to the musical soundtracks of some of her films.
Don’t be fooled by the size of the photo (the only one Jig’s has found so far). A fabulously interesting person with wonderful insights into composition for film. These interviews were recorded in the past. There is a new series, Earth Dances, on Wednesday mornings. The two-hour Music Show, long at 10am on Saturdays, is being split into two, an hour each at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays. Why? Because RN says so.
The concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium will present Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.
There are those who are unhappy with this choice and wondering why an Australian work was not chosen. The Conservatorium under previous director Kim Walker did after all commission 100 new works to mark each of its 100 years. What happened to them?
Stage designer and director John Senczuk has come up with an imaginative proposal to kick start a vigorous Australian musical theatre industry. He proposes Perth as the incubator but has already reported interest in the idea from both Perth and Brisbane. (Review is at https://musictrust.com.au/reviews/this-months-book-reviews/ )
Senczuk divides the world into jukebox musicals – where a story is added to a collection of existing popular songs, and book musicals, written from scratch. It’s the book musicals he is interested in. Australia has had some recentish success with jukebox musicals like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Boy from Oz, but almost nothing at that level for book musicals.
The exception is Matilda, written by Tim Minchin and already a success in London and New York. It will open in Sydney later this year.
The World Health Organisation reports that nearly half of young upper- and middle-class people play their headphone volume too high. The WHO recommends listening to loud music on headphones for less than an hour a day.
Nightclubs typically play music at 100 decibels, the equivalent of a jackhammer and safe for only 15 minutes. In Australia, the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre is launching a pilot study to help venues become less damaging for hearing.
Researcher Elizabeth Beach says the study is aimed at coming up with practical solutions to help live-music venues reduce their noise exposure. “… just by equalising the sound differently, you can make a fairly significant difference.”
Making Waves has announced itself as a curated series of playlists streaming one hour of quality Australian newly composed music. A fresh playlist is released on the last day of every month. For more information see http://makingwavesnewmusic.com/about/ Composers are invited to send works.
Lisa Cheney and Peggy Polias are the curators.
The March 31 playlist is very diverse and includes especially the works of a number of young women composers. The list leads off with Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax by Holly Harrison.