Saturday, June 16, 2012

Birthday celebrations

Thursday was my birthday and I started early by getting to 3MBS by 5.45. With NA I presented the Daybreak program - the previous week NA had panelled for me but this week I did the lot, panelling and presenting. It went off well and NA seemed pleased with my performance. I will be doing next week as well and NA says he thinks that should be enough; he will sign off on me.

As well next week I am presenting Wednesday night's Music for keyboards program - this one I have programmed as well. The program slot is up for grabs until the end of the year and after Wednesday I might consider putting my hand up for it. We'll see.

In the afternoon on Thursday I went over to South Melbourne for a wonderful concert at ANAM. Organised by Georgia Ioakimidis-MacDougall, horn player, for her mid-year recital it began with a première performance of Bells by Peter de Jager and was a very effective piece for three horns. This was followed by a performance by Lotte Betts-Dean of Paul Stanhope's Songs for the Shadowland, settings of poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal; she was accompanied by a small chamber ensemble. An interesting work; I'd also like to hear more of Betts-Dean's singing.

The major work, and the main reason I was there, was Strauss' Four Last Songs in the chamber arrangement by James Ledger performed by the glorious Siobhán Stagg. A larger chamber ensemble accompanied Siobhán who gave an amazingly mature performance of these wondrous songs. It made a highlight for my day.

But it didn't end there - later I met up with PR and BS for a truly extraordinary dinner at Hare and Grace. I started with a delicious salmon dish with pomegranate from the specials menu; BS had the Eton Mess (with oysters, yet) and PR had the Atlantic salmon with cracked wheat ash.

For mains I had an intensely flavoured braised lamb that had been cooked for six hours, BS had the restaurant's take on a chiko roll and PR had the braised beef with cured pear. For dessert I had candied parsnips (I kid you not), PR the lemon 'liquid' tart and BS the 'Storm in a teacup', which consisted of parsley icecream, beetroot jelly, coconut ice and fried shallots.

We all declared our meals to be excellent.

In all, a wonderful day.

Then last night we went to the Town Hall to hear the MSO perform Shostakovich and Mahler. The concert began with the Shostakovich violin concerto played by Julian Rachlin - it's an amazing tour-de-force and Rachlin's playing was extraordinary. He rightly received loud cheers and applause, from the orchestra as well as the audience.

After interval we were treated to a performance of Mahler's Symphony no 4, with Emma Matthews singing in the last movement. Benjamin Northey, who stepped in at the last minute to replace Donald Runnicles, did a great job directing what is one of Mahler's most accessible symphonies. Emma Matthews delivered the goods.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Today, as the cleaners were coming, I decided to take myself off to the pictures. First, though, I needed some coffee so I walked around to the Acoustic Cafe where I had a good chat with Ian as well as the coffee. Then I took myself off to Victoria Gardens and a session of Prometheus - in 3D.

It looks amazing, but the plot has some very large holes in it. Still, it passed a couple of hours and I enjoyed most of it. What was most annoying was the fact that the session was advertised to start at 11.20 - fat chance! We had to sit through nearly half an hour of advertisements and previews, as well as some brainless drivel from someone called Andrew Günsberg, who seemed to assume we knew he was.

One of the previews was for Baz Luhrmann's new film of "The Great Gatsby" - not something I have very much interest in, but I did notice that the 3D looked awful. It looked very discontinuous, everything looking as if it were a series of flat images, one behind the other.

Afterwards I had a lovely walk home in the sun.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wednesday again

Busy today: this morning I went up to Officeworks to pick up some vocal scores I'd left to be printed - pdfs I'd downloaded from the wonderful Petrucci web site.

I stopped at the Bomb Cafe for a coffee on the way home. Had time for a bit of a play through the scores, before it was time for lunch.

This afternoon was a reception shift at the radio station - quite busy, as it happened.

I'll be in bed early tonight as I have to be up early to present tomorrow's Daybreak program - six o'clock start.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


I have this morning updated to the mobile version of Blogger. I hope this means I will be blogging more frequently.