Review: Trek turns on a birthday treat

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A DELIGHTFUL program and a birthday cake were the treats for a capacity audience in a double anniversary celebration – 25 years for Guitar Trek and 10 years for the Wesley Music Centre.

Guitar Trek’s foundation member and head of the guitar department at the ANU School of Music, Timothy Kain, is an Australian icon of classical guitar teaching, mentoring and performance and has turned out award-winning guitarists of international renown. Prospective students are clamouring to get places in his classes. And he’s achieved it all sans PhD.

For this concert, Kain, along with fellow Trekkers Minh Le Hoang, Bradley Kunda and Matthew Withers played music crossing a couple of centuries and a few cultures including Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers”, Manuel De Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance” and a superb Kunda arrangement of a piano intermezzo by Brahms.

Australian composers dominated the program with Phillip Houghton’s “News from Nowhere”, Nigel Westlake’s “Six Fish” and Graeme Koehne’s “To His Servant Bach”.

A fair range of guitars were featured, too, along with the tuning forks and even a $NZ2 coin (because it was the best) used in Houghton’s composition.

The quartet was in perfect balance with all players giving each other the space needed for leads or emphasis. Most striking was the expression they achieved both individually and collectively. Drama and bliss, funny and sad, wistful and forceful – they played them all.

They were surprised by the reception the audience gave their performance. They shouldn’t be. They were well-deserving of it.

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