Shir Madness, Sydney’s Jewish Music Festival returned on a damp Sunday to the Emanuel Synagogue for a day of music, food, and community in celebration of the contributions Jewish composers, musicians, and writers have made and continue to make to the music industry. With musical acts from across the country and across the world, the day was packed with all sorts of genres and styles to enjoy.
In Maestro Lee Bracegirdle’s inaugural program since being appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra, the spring program was a bold welcome to the new season with some beautiful classics played wonderfully by the full orchestra. Equally exciting was the accompaniment by two internationally renowned soloists to the concert’s proceedings.
The Acacia Quartet comes together with Matt Withers on classical guitar to share a program of emerging and established Australian composers including some brand new pieces from prize-winners from the 2018 Australian Music Composition Competition. Fusing a classical guitar with their inventive and unorthodox tone and technique brings another dimension to this string quartet. Sharing a thematic link of landscape inspiration, Imaginations also plays with the relationship between music and painting as artistic representations of space both real and imaginary.
With the 2018 programming the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra wanted to explore melodies and their third program of the year focuses on Poetical Melodies. The relationship between poets and composers began to change in the 19th-century when the passionate and soul-exposing words of the poets infiltrated the musical sphere. Composers of the time turned to string instruments to fully express this soulful and emotional new style.
Comedy cabaret duo Alice Tovey and Ned Dixon bring their show Mansplaining to Sydney to tackle that issue bigger than most: the patriarchy. In equal parts sincerity and irony, this show is about laughing while men interrupt you and finding the reasoning within internet trolls.
To finish up their July 2018 program, Flinders Quartet and guest violist Chris Moore performed a lively concert mixing music and theatre. It’s a charming play with text to add narration to the Quartet’s performance and movement in time with the music. The three pieces comprising this concert were distinct but carried a thread of life and joy throughout.