ARGENTINE FIRE FOR FLUTE AND GUITAR
Concert review by Latham Horn
(The reviewer, Latham Horn, was the only flautist to successfully audition for Prof. Johanna Dömötör’s class at the Anton-Bruckner-Privatuniversität Linz, Austria, is also one of Sally Walker’s past flute students)
On a bright and warm last day of winter acclaimed duo Sally Walker and Giuseppe Zangari presented a lunchtime concert of Argentine, Australian and Italian music for flute and guitar in the delightfully intimate theatrette of the recently redeveloped Newcastle Museum. Both Walker – international prize winning flutist formerly of the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein and Zangari – Italian Government scholarship recipient and faculty of the Sydney Conservatorium are lectures at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.
There was no need for programs as the performers communicated wonderfully with the substantial audience giving brilliant insight into each of the presented works. The first work performed was the Callejon by Argentine composer Maximo Diego Pujol whom Walker will meet personally during a tour of South America later in the year. The Callejon originally existed as a work for voice and guitar, here presented as the Australian premiere in a new arrangement for flute and guitar.
The second work was the first two movements of the Grand Duo Concertante by Mauro Giuliani – the composer who is also the current subject of guitarist Zangari’s fascination and Masters research. The first movement’s challenging technical passages for both flutist and guitarist were presented here with both control and wit – but the true artistry was evident in the second movement. Walker’s flute sang like a great Bel Canto soprano with a tone and legato so transparent and intimate yet full of colour with a wonderfully complementing accompaniment by Zangari.
Pujol’s Viene y Va (Comes and Goes) was next on the program. The outer first and third movements were full of excitement, joy and fire – a perfect complement to the stunning beach sun of Newcastle’s iconic Nobby’s Beach one sees on approach to the concert venue. The second movement, a melancholic aria, was performed with absolute artistry of colour, dynamics and sentiment. The next work Suite Buenos Aires (also by Pujol) included an impressive introduction for solo guitar, displaying Zangari’s technical facility and command of extended techniques.
The last work of the program was by Australian composer and guitarist Philip Houghton. From the Dreaming has become quite popular amongst flutists with frequent performances around Australia and internationally in numerous arrangements including for flute and orchestra; flute and string quartet and in its original here presented on flute and guitar. In an impressionistic style Houghton illustrates images and scenes of the Australian outback and wildlife, with movement names including ‘Cave Painting’, ‘Wild Flower’ and ‘Gecko’.
This was truly an inspired performance featuring musicianship and artistry of the highest calibre, leaving this listener completely musically satisfied and with goosebumps. After two rounds of applause the audience got their wish of an encore in Cambereri’s Capricciosa, a light and fiery Tarantella in a minor key full of technical bravura and character. Walker and Zangari will tour Sweden in early 2014 upon invitation from Swedish ensemble Haga Duo.
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