AYO National Music Camp 2013: Blog 6
By Erin Lancaster
Day 11: A tempo
Wednesday was a musical feast! The first of the General Chamber Concerts was informally held in Madley Hall. Without the confines of formal blacks performers could be found in anything – bare-feet, board shorts and jeans no strangers to the stage. The hall was filled with campers and staff supporting their friends on stage and providing an encouraging atmosphere for the performances.
Today was a chance to hear the camper’s instrumental voices apart from the massed sound of the orchestra. The chamber music program was full of known and unknown musical delights. The challenge for the ensembles was to lead themselves without a conductor, so eye-contact and strategic breathing on up-beats was key. Chamber music co-ordinator Lachlan Bramble put together a fantastic program which included a double bass quartet, Hovhaness’ strangely wonderful duet for harp and flute Garden of Adonis, the ever shifting sands of Philip Glass’ String Quartet No.3 and more traditional favourites such as the Beethoven String Quintet.
The music didn’t stop there with the National Music Camp percussionists emerging from the back of the orchestra to take centre stage at the Percussion Ensemble Concert – possibly the musical highlight of the camp thus far.
They started with a literal bang and a yawp, completely unified in every movement in a dynamic performance of Kopetski’s Le Chant du Serpent. Bach followed in a way not many of us would have heard before with an arrangement of his keyboard works translated to marimbas and vibraphones. It was a mesmerising experience hearing the subject emerge delicately from the vibraphone; Bach’s counterpoint glowing through the layers of pure resonances of the percussion.
John Cage’s exotic Third Construction is perhaps the grooviest thing ever to be played in Elder Hall. It’s a tremendously difficult piece with four players juggling between shakers, tin cans, cricket callers and a conch shell (just to name a few of the instruments), keeping the compendium of polyrhythm’s in time with legs and arms as if in a dance.
Performances and deadlines approach quickly as do the final days of camp, but with such timeless performances one can forget about the ‘real world’ outside of these walls.