Frère Jacques

In a minor mode.

Yes, I have been to hear Mahler 1, in Perth, with the WASO conducted by Paul Daniels.

This has been a sudden visit, brought on by a medical emergency (not mine, obviously). Instead of flying to China on Friday (which was my plan) I flew to Perth.

I was last here in 2005. I feel a bit like Rip van Winkle. The car hire firm I sought out in Milligan Street in the city informed me that they have moved twice since. The underpass/tunnel to nowhere under St George’s Terrace from the Perth Concert Hall is now barred shut. The sexy gay cellist of a certain age whom D rather fancied seems to have moved on (he could have been away)[afternote: still there, but a little older, as, of course, are we all].

On the other hand, some things seem to stay the same. The percussionist with poise and a talent to always be in the limelight is still there. There was no sign of John Harding, the latest concertmaster, or even, as far as I could make out, his deputy. When I looked in The West Australian on my arrival on Friday (I was internetless) in the hope of a WASO performance to catch, there was absolutely no mention anyway, in advertisements or any “what’s on” section, of the two performances on Friday and Saturday this weekend.

My guess is that, as a self-respecting monopolist, the West doesn’t give any publicity for free. Conversely, judging from the quite healthy attendance, the orchestra doesn’t feel the necessity to contribute to the paper’s rivers of gold.

Intelligently, the concert opened with the discarded movement from the symphony, Blumine, and then the Bartók (posthumously completed by another) viola concerto played by Ruth Killius. I will be missing this and her in Sydney, so this was a bit like Death and Damascus. I can’t say that I really warmed to the work. Bartók and I have a troubled relationship (though it was from the WASO that I heard a brilliant concert performance of Bluebeard’s Castle).

In other news and social technology, I see that Cosi fan tutte played tonight to a half-full house in Sydney. That’s a Saturday night. Just what is going on? I think Henry Choo is entitled to be upset about that.

4 Responses to “Frère Jacques”

  1. wanderer Says:

    Bon courage à tous.

    How disappointing is that Henry Choo report. Could it be Rosh Hashanah? This (poor response by marketing to poor bookings) has been raked over before, but they must have known those numbers well in advance. I’m not in Sydney much to see any local marketing efforts although there have been a lot of internet ads for OA following me around but with no special appeal.

    The bait here would surely be Jim Sharman, with all due respect to the performers and Mr Mozart. There was one piece in the SMH, the AussieCosi youtube likely didn’t penetrate far and yet it’s in for a long run of 12 shows.

    Or could it be a clash with The Mikado, with the latter sucking the tourists (are there any still?) and once only goers into it?

  2. Thom Says:

    Oh yes, that Bluebeard’s Castle was stunning. Made even more satisfying by the subscriber letters of the “we’d thought we might skip that one but we didn’t and it turned out to be a highlight of the year” variety.

  3. “Up” denotes water « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] trip to the West is over, though I may have to […]

  4. Strange Meeting « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] which he drew from the orchestra in the Strauss. The new principal trumpet, David Elton (here from 2009 with the WASO), featured very promisingly. The orchestra still doesn’t appear to have announced a second […]

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