Giuliani to Tango. Sally Walker – flute, Giuseppe Zangari – 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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Where Everything is Music – Reza Vali

Where Everything is Music – Reza Vali

Tuesday 19 June 2012, 7pm

The Goethe-Institut Sydney

Review by Angus McPherson

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in June 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)


Tuesday night’s lecture and concert with Reza Vali provided a fascinating insight into the composer’s work and music. The evening began with a lecture by Vali discussing his musical development and the different periods in his compositional career. Although Vali’s musical training was in Western art music, he has always been passionate about Persian folk music and more recently has become interested in Iranian traditional music. Vali finished the lecture with a recording of a string quartet from his Calligraphy collection, composed in his ‘Post-Western,’ period, in which he used the Iranian modal system rather than the Western system.

In his lecture, Vali described how he began collecting Persian folk songs as a student at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran. In his career as a composer, Vali wrote so many sets of folk songs that he soon ran out of titles for his compositions and was forced to catalogue works by number and letter. Hence the title of the first piece on the program, Persian Suite: Folk Songs Set No. 12 E (2002), performed by Marie Irene Heinrich on flute and David Miller on piano. Originally scored for voice, string quartet and piano, the piece began with an Armenian folk song and ended with a fast, strident dance from Northern Iran.

Song for solo flute (1987), performed by Laura Chislett Jones, used the technique of singing and playing to imitate the sound of the traditional Persian flute, the Ney. According to Vali, the overtones produced by singing and playing create a timbre that is very close to that of the Ney. This technique also allowed Vali to write two different melodic lines, creating a duet between the flute and the voice. Driven by a building tension between two musical styles, Persian folk song and European avant-garde music, this piece reached a dramatic climax during which the voice part was almost a scream.

The evening concluded with the Sydney World Premiere of Vali’s homage to Johannes Brahms, Three Romantic Songs (2011). This piece was written for and dedicated to Vali’s wife, and was performed by Thomas Jones on violin with David Miller once more on piano. The final movement, in 7/8, was described by Vali as a “limping tango” and the composer invited the audience to imagine a corpulent Brahms attempting to dance with Clara Schumann.

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Matthew Hindson – House Music (Flute Concerto)

A Review by Angus McPherson

SCM Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Imre Palló
Soloist: Alexa Still

Friday 4 May 2012, 6pm
Saturday 5 May 2012, 4pm
Verbrugghen Hall

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in May 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)


On Friday night, Alexa Still performed the Australian premiere of Matthew Hindson’s flute concerto, House Music, with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra conducted by Imre Palló.

The first movement of the concerto, entitled “Kitchen, Garage, Workshop,” opened dramatically with a strident cacophony of sound from the orchestra before giving way to a virtuosic flute cadenza of extended techniques and high-speed technical passages. The dynamic range of this movement stretched from a ghostly whistle-tone in the cadenza to full orchestral fortissimos and the influence of electronic dance music was clearly apparent in the driving beat of the orchestra. Named for rooms that imply the frequent use of appliances, gadgets and machinery this movement was exciting and dizzyingly frenetic.

“Foyer, Swimming Pool (Interlude),” provided some welcome relief from the frenzied activity of the opening movement. Showcasing the flute and harp, this movement was languid and, at times, almost eerily still. The flute part was full of idyllic melodies adorned with the shimmering and burbling of timbrel trills and smooth, glassy glissandi that Alexa played with a seemingly effortless, fluid grace.

The final movement, “Nursery, Games Room,” saw a return to the upbeat energy and dance influences of the first movement, but this time the music locked into a more playful, repetitive groove. While still fast-paced and virtuosic, the children’s domain seemed to brim with a positive energy, free from the stresses of adult life.

Alexa performed with her usual flair, masterfully executing both the extended techniques and the technical gymnastics that make this piece a formidable and exciting contribution to the flute repertoire. She will be performing House Music again at the Annual Convention of the National Flute Association (USA) in Las Vegas later this year.

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