Double the trouble, double the musical enjoyment

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CANBERRA Choral Society joins the Song Company this week in “Double Trouble,” a celebration of the seventieth birthdays of musical brothers, Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith.

Tobias Cole, photo Peter Hislop
Tobias Cole, photo Peter Hislop

Archly, the concert features many ‘doubles’ — two brothers, two conductors, (Tobias Cole and Roland Peelman) two adult ensembles, two youth choirs (the Turner Trebles and Vocal Envy) and two performances – on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Roland Peelman
Roland Peelman

The concert is dedicated to the work of composer Martin Wesley-Smith and his twin brother, librettist Peter Wesley-Smith, a creative combination, the organisers observe, who have always delighted in ‘stirring the pot’.

‘Martin is a master of his craft, who can parody any style while all the time leaving his distinctive mark’ says Tobias Cole, artistic director of the Canberra Choral Society

The ‘Double Trouble’ program will feature one of the Wesley-Smiths’ more controversial works, the song cycle ‘Black Ribbon’. Commissioned by CCS to mark the centenary of Federation in 2001, ‘Black Ribbon’ uses wit and humour to celebrate and satirise Australia’s history and society, from cricket and the ABC to Gallipoli and the bush. The title comes from a moving song about the stolen generations, ‘She Wore a Black Ribbon’.

The choir will be joined by Australia’s leading a cappella ensemble The Song Company and guest conductor Roland Peelman – both of whom featured in the 2001 performance. The Song Company have collaborated with Martin Wesley-Smith for over 30 years, describing him as their ‘unofficial composer-in-residence’.

The Wesley-Smiths have also applied their musical talents to children’s songs for the likes of the ABC’s Play School. ‘Double Trouble’ will feature a selection of these, including the toe-tapping favourite ‘I’m Walking in the City’, sung by the young voices of the Turner Trebles and Vocal Envy.

‘Double Trouble’, at The Street Theatre, 7.30pm Saturday August 1 and 3pm Sunday August 2. Bookings to thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223.

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Helen Musa
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