Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Live at Lunch : The Painted Piano and the Golden Flute

A wonderful concert . Here's my thoughts for Sydney Arts Guide



The latest thrilling concert as part of the Live at Lunch series featured the artistic director renowned flautist Jane Rutter and special guests pianists Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt.
Kevin Hunt is a jazz pianist-composer who has performed regularly in the Sydney jazz scene since 1979. Hunt currently performs regularly with vocalist Emma Pask and pianist Simon Tedeschi and is a lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music.
All three were obviously having a hugely enjoyable time as did the packed audience.
The stage was mostly bare apart from a large projection screen and two shiny black pianos facing one another.
Rutter wore a glittering gold and yellow outfit and the two men were dressed in suits.
The concert opened with a medley based on Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, a witty dialogue between the two pianos with its catchy, syncopated beats. The second piece was floating shimmering and delicate, rippling and romantic.
The concert then saw Hunt talking about his work and the special piano, lovingly crafted by Stuart & Sons, where the painters were students from the Menindee Central School in the far west of NSW.
The art students painted panels for the Stuart piano under the guidance and ideas of principal Brian Debus, art teacher Rick Ball, and music teacher Helen Bub-Connor. Menindee’s indigenous students belong to the Paakantji and Ngiyampaa language groups. We see images of the piano and painting while the next work was played. Hunt has completed a Phd on this and was inspired to write the next work Swirls (from The Painted Piano Suite ) . The music was refined yet bubbly and swirling, an animated discussion between the two pianos.
This was followed by the haunting, wistful and reflective Far Distant Place ( trad. Chinese arr, Rutter) with Rutter on flute, Tedeschi on piano. Rutter began on her special Chinese flute and then switched to her favourite golden flute after having talked briefly about the differences .
Then for something completely different we heard Three Spanish Popular Songs (arranged by Hunt ) in turns fiery, languid and sharply emphatic.
Black Market by Zawinul was next, rather jaunty with catchy jazz rhythms and a sparkling, darting flute.
Then came a sizzling piano duet version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue that almost set the pianos and the theatre alight. Both pianists had competitive, showy mini solos and there was intense concentration and interaction between them.
After tumultuous applause the encore was C Jam Blues by Duke Ellington with its rumbling sharp, spiky and emphatic infectious rhythms.
We were then asked to leave the theatre for lunch buying CDs and having them autographed on the way out.
Running time about 75 minutes no interval.
This Latest Live at Lunch took place at the Concourse Chatswood on the 13th September 2017

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