Wonderful article about our Bowral Autumn Music Festival in April 2016 Fine Music 102.5 FM magazine.
Testimonials

Thanks for a sensational Music Festival, Allan. Having never heard of the festival before, (attending because I liked what I saw of The Acacia Quartet on You Tube), I was astounded and delighted by everything about it; the quality of everybody’s playing, the friendliness and efficiency of the volunteers (I even got an upgrade to a front row seat at one of the concerts) and your friendly engagement with the audiences. t was nothing short of fantastic and you all deserve the highest accolades and thanks for your work.

Regards,

Ian Grant

Sanctuary Point. South Coast.

 

Hello Allan,  The Music Festival was absolutely amazing!  I would like to congratulate all the organisers for a magical, musical treat.  I can’t find the words to thank you all enough.

Many thanks and best wishes to you all,  Gillian.

Now that a few days have elapsed I just wanted to congratulate you - and all the members of that hard working committee - on the tenth anniversary BAMF. Alistair and I were delighted to be there on such a very special occasion and it was marvellous to see how the Festival has grown and developed over the decade. It augurs so well for the future!
The musical content has grown in stature and now there is such an established standard that the reputation will only spread. The new building is such a joy and certainly adds to it all. And the list of sponsors is increasing impressively! . . .
All good wishes from both of us and many, many congratulations again. I know you will be busy again now with all the music for Easter - it was so uplifting to be in St Judes' for the Festival service again.
With love from
Jenny

I would like to thank the BAMF Committee for a wonderful Festival.  If you could keep the Festival to this high standard every year, you have made a success of the programme. From the participants perspective – the programme was varies, full of life and very enjoyable.

We are so lucky to have the wonderful Acacia Quartet.  Their Friday evening performance was exciting and left one feeling so thrilled by the music.  I really enjoyed the music of the Russian composers.  Their music we know exists but is not aired as often as it should be – a truly great evening.  And Daniel Moult – well he was a man with pizzazz and so much fun.  If there were any spiders who had set up camp in the organ pipes they are no longer there . . . He gave us the classics then really showed us what the organ is capable of. . .

Saturday evening was a truly wonderful evening.  The visiting viola player Emile added a new dimensionto the music and I enjoyed the Lament fo two violas.  How special to hear a piece written for Stfan to celebrate his birthday and to hear the composer talk about the writing of the piece.

You have given all of us who attended this Festival much pleasure and a truly great weekend.  Thank you.

Many, many thanks,

Carolyn

2016 Festival in Review by Elizabeth Dalton

The Bowral Autumn Music Festival got off to an auspicious start with a full house for Concert I featuring the quartet-in-residence, Acacia Quartet and flautist, Jane Rutter. The program started gently with a polished performance of the Mozart string quartet no.15 in D Minor. The featured artist then took the stage with two flutes in hand. She played an unaccompanied sonata by CPE Bach on her treasured Louis Lot flute which she described as “the Stradivarius of the flute family”. This work showcased the instrument’s capabilities and the virtuosic technique of the performer. In the Mozart Flute quartet Jane played her golden flute with tone to match accompanied by members of Acacia.

This year for the first time the audience was invited to a reception after the concert in the new extension of St Jude’s to celebrate the opening of the Festival with a glass of champagne. This proved to be a popular initiative as many of the audience enjoyed the social interaction before the Young Organist recital, in which Jonathan Lee showed great potential with an advanced program of Bach, Sweelinck, Buxtehude, Franck, Gigout, Mendelssohn and Alain.

Concert III on Friday night was entitled “Russian Tapestry” and featured Acacia Quartet with pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska. The program consisted of works by the great 19th and  20th century Russian masters, interwoven with miniatures from the “Silver Suite” by Elena Kats-Chernin as well as her “Five Chapters” for piano quintet. Acacia Quartet opened with an early work by Rachmaninov, a two movement quartet of melancholic mood. They were also later joined by Tamara for another work by Rachmaninov, an arrangement for piano quintet of one of his songs, “Georgia, o never sing to me again.”  But it was in the performance of several solo works by Lhevinne, Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Mussorgsky that the virtuosic style of Tamara-Anna Cislowska came to the fore as she showcased some huge classics that looked back to the Golden Era of the piano.

Saturday morning at the Mittagong Playhouse was the setting for a delightful production known as “Play me a Story – the Nutcracker”. This concert was designed with children in mind and the enthusiastic response resulted in a full house of young and the young at heart. The pageant combined music, storytelling, dance and illustration as well as some audience participation. It was a perfect introduction to classical music and theatre for children.

It was back at to St Jude’s for Concert V on Saturday afternoon – an organ recital by the outstanding British organist, Daniel Moult, a young man of engaging personality and unequivocal talent. The first half of the program included works by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Mendelssohn, of which two were written for the mechanical clock organ. The second half started with the Allegro from Symphonie No. 6 by Widor and then moved into some contemporary works by three 20th century Dutch composers, Ad Wammes, Dick Koomans and Jacques van Oortmerssen finishing with  variations on “I got rhythm” by the acclaimed English organist, Harold Britton. This was a recital “par excellence” as Daniel displayed his mastery of the instrument, combining expressive power with technical brilliance, most notably his dazzling pedal work.

Concert VI was entitled “Phantasy” and featured the visiting German violist, Emile Cantor who joined Acacia to make a quintet for the evening. The program opened with the ‘Phantasy’ quintet of Vaughan Williams, a delightful work that combines the composer’s interest in Tudor music and folk song. Then followed the Frank Bridge ‘Lament’ for two violas. Emile Cantor and Stefan Duwe, mentor and protégé, performed this work with great feeling, highlighting the viola’s mellow tone quality. The next work on the program was a world premiere of a string quintet by the contemporary Australian composer, Lyle Chan who has a special relationship with Acacia Quartet. In fact this composition was a 50th birthday gift to their violist, Stefan Duwe. Lyle spoke to the audience of the inspiration behind the music. He explained that he wanted it to be festive in mood yet have a poignancy that comes from the uniting power of music. So he drew on the mood of Glenn Miller with a swing-style, combining this with other birthday motifs and most affectingly he appropriated the melody of “O, Holy Night”, the Christmas carol that the musicians of the Tipitina Music Foundation played for the people of New Orleans when they were helping to restore the city after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The quintet players and the audience embraced the music with warmth and emotion. Mozart’s Quintet No. 3 in C major, K 515 featured in the second half of the program. This work is one his greatest chamber music masterpieces and Acacia with Emile Cantor did full justice to the grandeur of the work. 

The Festival Service on Sunday morning included the Gloria from Pergolesi’s ‘Magnificat’ and the Mozart ‘Coronation Mass’. Allan Beavis led the Festival Chorale with soloists, Melinda Richardson (soprano), David Allen (tenor), Christopher Harris (bass), Danielle Koek (violin), Lesley Staats (violin), Rebecca Staats (viola), Sarah Hicks (cello), Roma Dix (flute), Michelle Biasutti (oboe), Adrienne Bradney-Smith (clarinet), Eliza Corley (timpani) and Kim Stewart (organ).

Concert VII on Sunday afternoon concluded the Festival with a smorgasbord of Swedish music presented by The Marais Project. This ensemble was originally formed to celebrate the music for the viola da gamba by performing the complete works of Marin Marais, the great French virtuoso viola da gamba performer and composer. However, this program showed that they also have an affinity with Swedish music providing a wonderful concert of traditional Swedish music arranged by their theorbist, Tommie Andersson, that included traditional pastoral hymns and songs. Interspersed with these were some works that featured the baroque flute – a sonata by the “Father of Swedish Music”, Johan Roman and a trio by Marin Marais for flute, violin and viola da gamba. This program was a contrast to the more traditional chamber music of the Festival and a wonderful opportunity to hear music from a less familiar culture.

Mention must be made of the organ preludes, performed by Allan Beavis at the start of each concert.  These are a signature feature of the Festival and set the mood for the very generous programs that follow.

The Bowral Autumn Music Festival celebrated 10 years this year with audiences of record numbers. The success of the Festival may be attributed to the Festival Director, Allan Beavis and the Artistic Director, Myee Clohessy, whose combined passion and vision have ensured that we can look forward to a promising future of high quality chamber music concerts in the Highlands.

© 2019 Bowral Autumn Music Festival

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