Walking onto the stage, the crowd was clearly more excited to see Mike Patton. Lots more applause followed.
The second piece of the evening was an altogether different affair, and at first reminded me very much of the Swingle Sisters. The group consisted of a mixed choir (though with triple the number of men to women), a mainly wind ensemble (though with 3 cellists, 2 harps and a lone percussionist) and Patton as a narrator, separate to the choir.
The choir made short, sharp sounds, often speaking over each other and when words could be distinguished, they were in Italian, to be expected though as the composer was Italian. I did wonder how many were like me, that didn’t know Italian so couldn’t understand what was going on, or didn’t know the piece.
When the choir wasn’t in control, the ensemble would be, lead mainly by the flute. Though it should be noted the conductor was the same in both pieces tonight and did great. Patton spoke occasionally, not nearly as much as anyone else, but played his part well. At one stage swapping his microphone for a speakerphone and directing it at the audience as he rattled off a stream of Italian, passion in his voice.
Throughout the piece lighting was used to also convey passion, same as in the previous piece, though they also used some video footage on a projection screen, along with random electronic sounds similar to placing a microphone too close to a speaker, or cutlery on crockery. Interesting noise.
At the end of the performance we stuck around to hopefully meet Patton, and luck was on Dee-Anne’s side, not only meeting, but getting an autograph and a photo. What a night!
When I conceived the idea of writing about Hurricane Transcriptions, partway through the ethereal opening of the piece, I had intended it to be a short blurb. However I think it’ll be more as there’s much to say about it.
The composer recorded the sounds and beginning of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, picking up the swirling winds, the swooshes, the driving rain and made a transcription in the week that followed, while he was without power, heat and water.
Playing with an ensemble, I loved how he recreated the winds. It was an amazing sound. Slowly the music intensified, as the storm I imagine did. Naturally there was a lull in the middle, the eye, before reversing course as the storm again lashed the city and finally moved on or weakened.
I liked the acoustic guitar accompaniments, but disliked the electric guitar, which was at one stage played with a bow; it seemed, too chaotic, but then I guess that was the idea.
Other than an over enthusiastic member if the audience, who couldn’t work out a storm has an eye so it can’t end in the middle, it was well received.
Today Dee-Anne and I spent the day having a walk about Sydney. We caught the train into Central station to start with, walking up to Hyde Park and the ANZAC memorial for a sombre start. Down the reflecting pond we walked until we got to the Sydney Festival Village, where the line for Sacrilege, a bouncy-castle Stonehenge, was far too long for us to consider getting in it. A shame as it looked like quite a cool thing.
Across the road from Sacrilege we took a look inside St Mary’s Cathedral, before walking through parks, including the Botanic Gardens, to the Opera House, somewhere Dee-Anne hadn’t been before. In one of the parks was a status of Robert Burns, an ancestor of Dee-Anne’s.
After the Opera House we took a walk to The Rocks for lunch, finding a great funky bar, The Argyle, and associated Dumpling Kitchen. Food was excellent, some great fusion dishes.
Finally, on the way home we stopped at N2 Extreme Gelato, where they fuse incredible flavours on the spot, with the help of liquid nitrogen. The visit was throughly enjoyed, and we shall be trying the Melbourne venue too.