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  • Helen Gramotnev


When you go to the Brisbane Music Festival, it is always an experience. You get to be surprised with compositions that bring together familiar and not-so-familiar instrument combinations, adaptations of classical repertoire, and contemporary music that you would never have heard anywhere else! An entire week of non-stop concerts, featuring a huge variety of repertoire and instrument styles, Brisbane Music Festival yet again brings a stimulating and eye-opening program.

On Saturday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see Flavours of Spain – a concert featuring piano (Alex Raineri, also the Artistic Director of the festival) and Spanish guitar (Karin Schaupp). The repertoire consisted of a varied selection of music, from classical to ultra-modern. Opening with Sonatine by Anton Diabelli, the show sets the tone for Spanish-styled music which embraces the guitar repertoire and brings together some very rarely (or never) heard pieces for guitar and piano from around the world.

Next piece was a highlight for me – Granada by Isaac Albénitz. Warm, welcoming sounds poured like a balmy summer evening on the ocean beach, with the waves of the breeze enveloping you slowly, carrying you into a dance. Guitar and piano waltz apart, then come back together, like arms searching for each other until they join again in a delicious embrace.

Another highlight was an Australian piece by Erik Griswold Los sueños del niño y la niña, capturing the spirit of playful youth in the natural phenomena of El Niño (also meaning “the boy”) and La Niña (“the girl”). Introduced as a ‘collage of dreams’, its characters give themselves to play “blissfully unaware” of human existence and struggles. Written in three continuous movements, the piece soars through space, riding the wind, bouncing off clouds, and sending its characters higher and higher, still further from the troubles of the world.

Guitar lends itself to playing with rhythms and brings a touch of popular music to the classicism of the piano. The concert also features a special Australian original piece of a guitar solo with a backing track called Cyber nylon by Thomas Green.

Its classical guitar meets techno feel, combines the sounds of guitar with all things computerised in an experimental composition that will remind you of the arcade gaming lounge.

The second instalment of the festival happens in December, for a week of non-stop music not to be missed. Being in one convenient location, it is possible to see performances back-to-back and indulge in an evening, a day, a weekend, or a whole week of fabulous music. I cannot wait to be back!


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