Oberon was treated to a different style of music when Ensemble Offspring came to the Malachi Gilmore Hall on Saturday, October 7, with a performance of their show "Surge".
(min cost $8)
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The first item on the program wasn't a musical piece. It was a video produced by Paul Mac to accompany a recording of Prime Minister Paul Keating's 1992 Redfern Address. This was enough to tell the audience that they were in for something very different to what they might have expected. Things got a little political when percussionist Claire Edwardes said that with the current discussion about the Voice to Parliament the words of the speech are as relevant today as they were in 1992.
Members of Ensemble Offspring are Claire Edwardes (Artistic Director, percussion), Jason Noble (clarinets), Susie Bishop (violin), Sonya Lifschitz (piano), Andrew Blanch (guitar), Vladimir Gorbach (guitar), Ben Ward (double bass) and Paul Mosig (who manages the accompanying videos).
The idea behind the show was to follow events and changes since the 1990s and how those changes are reflected in society and culture today. Two of the works were by established Australian composers Peter Sculthorpe and Nigel Westlake with pieces composed in 1992. The remainder of the concert consisted of six works by contemporary composers Jessica Wells, Felicity Wilkcox and Robert Davidson created for Ensemble Offspring's performances of "Surge" during 2021.
The first item on the musical program was "Tropic" by Peter Sculthorpe, a composition for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, and it left the audience in no doubt that this was not going to be a "normal" classical music performance. Sculthorpe's music was always challenging and controversial, but he took the view that music must change with and reflect the times. This piece was a very good example of how he used the sounds of nature and everyday life to inform his compositions. It's not a Chopin string quartet, but it was never meant to be.
The rest of the concert was made up of the following:
Links to 2021 performances of these works can be found at Ensemble Offspring's web site.
Despite the challenging and somewhat unexpected nature of the concert it was very well received by the audience, although they remained in their seats for longer than usual at the end of the show.
"What an absolutely fantastic performance. Loved, loved, loved it. Thank you to the performers and organisers who made it possible for the Oberon community to attend this function," audience member Lurline Ralls said.
"Yes, it was wonderful. I hope we can have the opportunity to see/hear more quality music like this. I don't like everything from Peter Sculthorpe, for example, but his work was beautifully performed like everything else in the program," Lexi Kellam said.
Now that music is back at the Malachi everyone is looking forward to future concerts. The next big event will be the Chamber Music Festival on November 24 to 26. Oberon is very lucky to have a performance space like this and Lucy and Johnnie East must be thanked for making it possible.
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