Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Viennese Bouquet


Jonathan  Paget (guitar)/ Stewart Smith (piano)

The Grove Library, Peppermint Grove

reviewed by Neville Cohn


Billed as a program of music from the age of Jane Austen, two leading Perth musicians took an attentive audience on a journey back in time. Jonathan Paget played a Bauer guitar manufactured around 1840 in Vienna – and Stewart Smith was at the keyboard of a Clementi square piano built in London around 1830.

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Credit : Grant Hall


This was fascinating fare.


Dutch composer Karel Craeyvanger’s Introduction and Variations on a Theme from Weber’s Der Freischutz was played as if to the manner born by Paget. Blissfully free of the creaks, squeaks and clanks that bedevil the playing of so many guitarists, we were here able to savour the work as it unfolded – beautifully. I particularly admired the pianissimi which Paget conjured from the instrument – and the library’s pleasing acoustics came up trumps, too.


Fernando Sor’s Sonata No 1 was no less satisfying. Here, Paget gave us a most expressive interpretation with stylistically impeccable rubato.


Hummel’s tongue-in-cheek Pot-Pourri with its gentle obeisance to composers from Paisiello and Mozart to Spontini and Gretry was a highlight of the afternoon.


In Carulli’s Petit Concerto opus 140, both musicians succeeded, admirably, in revealing the gentle, intimate nature of much of the writing with ensemble throughout a model of refinement.  There was also a piano solo: Beethoven’s Fur Elise. Here, subtle rubato transformed this oh-so-familiar miniature into a listening experience of high order. Bravo!


Not the least of the pleasures of this presentation was the fine balance of tone between the two instruments. Each has a gentle voice. Together, their tonal manners were impeccable.

Vademecum – a Human Odyssey



devised and presented by Alex Cohen AO

Callaway Auditorium


reviewed by Neville Cohn





Quite the most memorable of the offerings at this fascinating presentation was an account of Gerald Finzi’s Dies Natalis featuring The School of Music Chamber Orchestra and soprano Sara Macliver.


Clear diction is a crucial requirement here – and in this sense Macliver came through with banners flying. Vocal tone, too, was consistently fine in a beautifully considered presentation by one of UWA’s most distinguished music graduates.


Throughout, the soprano line was complemented by the young UWA string players who responded most expressively to the masterly direction of Paul Wright who has done so much to raise the level of string playing at the School of Music.


At this most civilised of entertainments, Alex Cohen’s philosophical musings, in turn wry, gentle and self-effacing, were like a golden thread through the evening.


Later, Wright, with Graeme Gilling a fastidious accompanist at the piano, presented Shostakovich’s delightful Romance from The Gadfly. It was given a beautifully considered exposition. Earlier, Gilling played that perennial favourite: Myra Hess’ arrangement for piano of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.


Alan Lourens is a master of the euphonium – and this was clearly evident in his account of an unaccompanied Tarantella by Philip Wilby.


Some vocal edginess was appPaul Wright Intensearent in an account of Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock in which the vocal line was complemented by Gilling at the keyboard and Ashley Smith on clarinet.