Review / CIMF Concert 21, ‘The Chocolate Factory’

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THIS family concert was as broad ranging in musical tastes as a delicious box of ‘not necessarily Turkish’ delights! Interspersed with amusing tales from Roland Peelman of both the history of chocolate, and its relationship to music from 1685 right up until now, the concert was perfect as a sweet Mother’s Day treat.

Young artist, soprano Lana Kains, accompanied by flautist Kim Falconer and Sally Whitwell, first tempted the taste buds with the aria “Oh, how sweet this chocolate tastes” from J.S. Bach’s ‘The Chocolate Cantata’ then a delightful ‘Panis Angelicus from the tenor James Doig with solid support from Emma Rayner (cello) and the harp of Alice Giles. My Festival favourite, violinist Anna McMichael, then joined with the Festival Young Artists vocal ensemble and Alice Giles in a most appropriately sonorous “Meditation from ‘Thais’”.

Alice then teamed up with clear-toned and bubbly Kim Falconer in the pretty “Entr’acte” by Jacques Ibert before the Festival Young Artist string quartet performed Tchaikowsky’s well loved “Andante Cantabile from the Quartet No 1 in D”. This was beautifully played and, with light rain visible through the Fitter’s windows, atmospherically just right.

By now Roland was drawing a somewhat long bow to his chocolate connection yarns but he still managed to equate the hot Australian sun to melting chocolate as he introduced Alice Giles to play the imaginative “Beneath the Midnight Sun”, the Nigel Westlake piece referencing the sun in Antarctica. The always beaming Sally Whitwell then co-directed (with Tobias Cole) the string quartet and the healthily strong Children’s Chorus in the world premiere of her work, “Treasure Chest”, a yummy musical story of a Mother’s Day box of chocolates gift and the temptations of a 10 year old pondering the ramifications should a chocolate be removed from the box prior to the giving!!

During a short interval the chorus members generously distributed chocolates amongst the audience which gave Tobias Cole time to change into his Willie Wonka costume before strolling down the red carpet aisle singing ‘The Candy Man”. It seems the film must have gotten the story a little incorrect.

According to the Tobias Wonka it appears the Fitters’ Workshop was the original Chocolate Factory. Perfectly feasible! With Sally providing the accompaniment, the Children’s Chorus singing enthusiastically and Tobias telling and singing his entertaining tale, the six songs from the film provided a happy and light hearted finale to this well constructed fun concert.

I should have saved my chocolate for my Mum but I ate it!

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  1. Having never encountered a Bach ‘Chocolate’ cantata, one can only assume that said aria is in fact a repurposed version of “Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süsse” from Bach’s ‘Coffee’ cantata.

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