Review: Gifted de Borah’s deft touch

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Daniel de Borah
Reviewed by Ian McLean

IN the late afternoon twilight following a spectacular autumn day which could easily have passed for summer, it was easy to become entangled with “Green Scenery,” musical images describing nature in the warmer months.  

This work commenced a program written entirely by Peteris Vasks, composer-in-residence for the 2012 Canberra International Music Festival.

Gifted young Australian pianist Daniel de Borah interpreted this Australian premiere and, with deft touch and a wonderful demonstration of dynamic control and contrast, brought this sound spectrum to colourful life.

He was then joined by Doug Beilman (violin) and Janis Laurs (cello) for another premiere, “Plainscapes,” a musical portrayal of Latvian landscape. The sparse scoring certainly presented an image of wide open plains and clear night skies. Violin playing was outstanding and writing for piano inventive and innovative.

More outstanding violin playing followed. An outstanding performance by Anna McMichael in “Lonely Angel – Meditation for violin and string orchestra” drew a standing ovation. The sustained control displayed, particularly in the upper register, was astonishing.

After being blown away by choral writing of Vasks during the Australian War Memorial concert earlier in the festival, I was anticipating Musica Adventus for Strings with relish. I was not disappointed. This exciting piece offered great intensity and passion combined with exciting, driving rhythm then calm melancholy.

Credit is also due to the young players from the ANU School of Music Chamber Orchestra and conductor Tor Fromyhr, who interpreted this exacting and demanding music with confidence and great surety.

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