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  • Helen Gramotnev


Alex Raineri  playing piano

The final instalment in the 2019 Brisbane Music Festival program, Passing Bells, was an exhibition of piano avant-garde. The performance was designed to showcase the latest work from Australian composer Chris Dench, Passing Bells, framed by Frederic Chopin’s 24 preludes and Alberto Ginastera’s Sonata No. 1.

The twenty-four preludes by Chopin came to life under Alex Raineri’s dextrous fingers. Some reflect the composer’s improvisational style, others yearn with short-and-sweet melodies. Rarely heard as a set, they were a treat for classical music lovers, and indulged the emotional scope for which Chopin is known.

Passing Bells by Chris Dench – the focus of this concert – was abstract art in music form. The brand-new composition featured seven ideas that recur throughout its seven parts (as explained by Dench himself), all designed around the sounds of bells. The resulting musical architecture was a cosmic-like impression with the audience taking the role of a child observing the stimuli the world has to offer. This intricate and complex composition was well-suited for seasoned piano listeners.

The most impressive aspect of this year’s Brisbane Music Festival was the central performer’s ability (Alex Raineri—also the artistic director of the festival), to not only curate this month-long event of music concerts, but to perform its entire piano oeuvre, with music ranging from well-known classics to just-written compositions. We look forward to the 2020 program!


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