Tag Archives: Rimsky Korsakov

Canning World Arts Exchange



Shelley Beach Foreshore

reviewed by Phoebe Schuman






It was an evening to remember: a dance and music extravaganza that drew thousands from near and far to Shelley beach foreshore on a moonless night with the mildest of cooling breezes. On offer were dance companies from home and abroad, a large choir and the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Christopher van Tuinen.












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After a traditional Welcome to Country, Aboriginal dancers, Danza Viva Spanish Dance Company, Chung Wa dancers and a company from the People’s Republic of China provided a feast for both eye and ear.


This splendid offering was largely due to the indefatigable efforts of John McLaughlin, arts and cultural events officer of the City of Canning, whose people-skills did much to bring this major initiative to fruition. It would have had to be a considerable logistical challenge mustering a small army of dancers, instrumentalists and choristers, a challenge which McLaughlin met to impressive effect.








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Chung Wa dancers brought us traditional lion dancing, the performers for the most part invisible under splendid, pristine white and crimson lion costumes and the Wadumbah Aboriginal Dance Group would doubtless have been a source of fascination to visiting dancers from the orient, their idiosyncratic dance sequences as ancient as the land their ancestors have called home for eons.




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Traditional Aboriginal paintings were wrapped around tall cylinders lit from within. Some were positioned on stage, others floated on the waters off Shelley beach. They were a fascinating sight. Prior to this van Tuinen presided over the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra in music from L’Arlesienne by Bizet.


Jimenez’s La Boda de Luis Alonso and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espanol are works which have been choreographed for innumerable Spanish dance presentations. La Boda was danced to the version of the late, great Juanjo Linares, prefaced by a virtuosic zapateado cadenza by Jose Torres, guest dancer from Chicago-based Ensemble Espanol. And in Rimsky-Korsakov’s much loved music, Torres was striking in a bullfighter’s cape, its black and crimson satin sides employed to splendid visual effect.  As ever, the ladies of Danza Viva Spanish Dance, beautifully gowned, were at their sinuous best, graceful in reflective episodes and dramatic in castanet-enhanced sequences.

 There was more delight after interval when Beijing Dance LTDX performed to a recording of Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, as moving to watch as to hear, There was a significant obeisance to Martha Graham in a choreography which focussed unerringly on expressions of grief and loss. This was a profound, deeply moving essay in music and movement by a dance company which was wonderfully disciplined.


A bumper evening included excerpts from Carmina Burana sung by the UWA Choral Society with a number of extra singers from regional choirs. Here, too, van Tuinen did wonders in maintaining momentum and ensuring an admirable level of ensemble from his considerable forces.


A dramatic close to the evening was provided by archers aiming arrows with flaming heads at Dagneris Alonso’s sculpture of a dragon floating in the Canning River. As the arrows (not all) found their mark, the dragon quite literally exploded in flames. In decades of concert going, I can’t recall a more unexpected end to a concert. 

All Photos:  Paul Kelly

GREAT PIANISTS Vladimir Horowitz (piano)

Scarlatti, Haydn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Rimsky Korsakov, Debussy, Stravinsky, Poulenc

NAXOS 8.110606
TPT 1:17:31

 reviewed by Neville Cohn

In this centenary year of pianist Vladimir Horowitz’s birth in 1903, a flood of re-issues of recordings he made over a long career brings to a new generation of listeners the idiosyncratic virtuosity of a musician whose artistry captured the imagination of millions. This is yet another fascinating compilation in Naxos’ admirable CD series devoted to resurrected recordings made by great pianists mainly during the first half of the 20th century.

For sheer digital brilliance and phenomenal left-hand power and authority, Horowitz was virtually without peer, as is abundantly evident in these performances recorded between 1932 and 1934 when at the peak of his formidable form.

Some may take issue with his over-romanticised treatment of two Scarlatti sonatas. But few, surely, would fail to thrill to his near-incredible finger facility, especially in relation to his trademark, machinegun-rapid repeated notes and wondrous glowing tone in the Sonata in G, L487. And in Haydn’s Sonata in E flat major, Hob XVI/52, the sort of music that could at times suffer from overly flamboyant treatment at the hands of the Russian-born virtuoso, is here enchanting. The outer movements bristle with vitality but very much in context in stylistic terms ­ there is no lapse into vulgarity here; it is the
essence of good taste, musicmaking that, even in repose, fully engages the attention, as does his account of Schumann’s Arabesque, masterly in its simplicity of presentation, and capable, surely, of melting the iciest heart.

Nowadays, keyboard athletes in Olympian form are ten a penny, all of them endeavouring to emulate the great Vladimir. But, digitally agile though they may be, there is little to distinguish one from the next. Frequently, there is a conveyor-belt- sameness about their presentations that make it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish one from another. Not so this extraordinary pianistic wizard. In the athletic stakes, he could hold his own against any comers but his instantly recognisable keyboard style marks his offerings instantly and memorably. Is there a pianist alive who could so effectively mine Chopin’s Etude in C sharp minor from opus 10 for its savage grandeur as does Horowitz? Or bring to Danse Russe from Stravinsky’s Petrouchka such sizzling energy and accuracy at top speed?

Horowitz is not often thought of in relation to the music of Debussy or Poulenc. But when he turned his attentions to these French masters, the results could be extraordinary. Listen to the exceptional clarity and control of arpeggionated figures – and subtle pianissimo shadings – in Debussy’s ferociously tricky Etude XI. Listen to Poulenc’s Pastourelle as it caresses the ear ­ as well as Poulenc’s Toccata. In Horowitz’s hands, it flashes into fantastically energetic and nimble life, as does Rachmaninov’s arrangement of Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee.

Oceans of ink have been spilled extolling the merits of Horowitz’s 1932 recording of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. Here, words seem superfluous in this landmark performance in which music so eloquently picks up the thread that language drops.