A whirlwind ten days it has been. Before we let Korimako blog the final of it all, we (the folks running this blog) want to say a big thank you to all the contributors this year: ‘Tristan’, Linley, Jacquetta, Korimako, Les and Peter – Thanks for sharing the delights of the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival with us!…
Saturday 7 Feb – From Korimako (written 8 Feb)
The finale to day 10 of the festival was a concert in the Cathedral which involved most of the principal artists – the Ying Quartet, the Song Company, and the New Zealand String Quartet.
It opened with a fascinating group of ‘Cries”, works based on the old tradition of town criers, and criers advertising their merchandise. Two of these were from Renaissance times; the other four, written by New Zealand composers, were world premieres, commissioned by the Adam Festival in 2014. This concept resulted from a collaboration between Roland Peelman (Song Company artistic director) and the NZSQ.
First we heard Orlando Gibbons‘ Cries of London (c 1610) – a madrigal which gave a living street-portrait of London. Next was Cries of Kathmandu by Louise Webster, a reflection of bustle, prayer wheels, tourists and chanting. This was followed by Jack Body‘s Cries from the Border, an extraordinarily moving depiction of despair from a German Jew philosopher, denied escape from France during the Vichy government days, who subsequently took his own life. The poignancy of this work is heightened by the knowledge that Jack Body is terminally ill.
Clement Janequin‘s Cries of Paris (c1530) was next. Janequin effectively started the tradition of incorporating street cries into works played refined ensembles of viols and singers. These cries range from sellers of vegetables, wine, cheese, toys and candles. Next was Some Cries of Wellington by Chris Watson. This portrays sounds Watson hears on his daily commute from Johnsonville to the central city where he works at the SOUNZ Centre for NZ Music. Eve de Castro Robinson wrote the last of the group – Cries of Auckland. Covering several decades of Auckland sounds, this included the calls of newspaper sellers and protest marches, right up to the anti-TPPA rallies.
Brahms’ Sextet in G, Op 36 was the concluding work of the festival. Played by the Ying Quartet with Gillian Ansell and Rolf Gjelsten this was a fitting finale. A sublime work of soaring majesty, the sextet is based on complex themes, recurring patterns, with a joyful scherzo and a cheerful finale – fitting sentiments to end this wonderful festival.
For many the highlight of the evening was Jack Body’s Cries from the Border, both for the moving music, but also that Jack Body side-stepped his illness to travel to Nelson this performance, and stood with the other composers to receive the audience’s acclamation at the end of the Cries. For this blogger, who’s known Jack Body for over 40 years, it was an unexpected privilege to be able to give him another hug.
Korimako has again enjoyed giving a bit of a bird’s eye view to this festival, & we close with the same phrase as last time:
Arriverderci Adam Festival 2015 – Benvenuto Adam Festival 2017