Music / CIMF, Concert 9 – “Magic Garden”, Australian National Botanic Gardens, May 6. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.
A CROWD of dedicated music festival patrons gathered at the National Botanic Gardens yesterday (May 6) for an event which combined listening to music with a bracing walk through the natural setting.
After festival director Roland Peelman and general manager of the gardens Peter Byron performed the formalities, SR9 Body percussion stirred the musically astute crowd into call and response slapping effects.
The large crowd was split into two groups to walk and experience overlapping performances around the garden. Occasionally instruments from the alternative group were audible in the distance, as it was during Bree van Reyk’s performance, “A Series of Breaths”.
“Magic” was the theme of this peripatetic concert, and magic was effectively conjured up when William Barton on didgeridoo and Veronique Serret on electric violin improvised while fine mist from the rainforest gully wafted upwards.
Similarly, flautist Sally Walker, first playing Bach’s “Canon alla Decima, Contrapunto all Terza” with clarinettist Jason Noble and then, set dramatically against a mini forest, playing Bach’s “Flute Partita in A Minor” BWV 1013 solo, left an indelible image on listeners.
Latin American musicians Matías Piñero and Cristian Betancourt made “Siegfried’s Horn Call” by Richard Wagner subtly morph into their own composition, “Canción en lejania” (Song from afar), on the rock garden lawn.
Trumpeter Alex Raupach found a perfect backdrop to improvise in the Red Centre garden and a similar effect was achieved by Noble as he played a work by Felicity Wilcox in the Gondwana garden.
Refreshing as the musical expedition around the gardens proved to be, it was with some relief that the audience sat down in the Burbidge Amphitheatre to hear the sonic.art saxophone quartet play Kurt Weill’s “Cannon-song” and “The Ballad of Mack the Knife” followed by a round of George Gershwin numbers, a relaxing climax to a lunchtime feast of music.