Review: Monash bands shine in jazz and classical concert
Date August 11, 2014
Black, Brown and Beige
Monash University Big Band and Monash Academy Orchestra
Robert Blackwood Hall
Combining the institution’s two major instrumental ensembles, Monash University’s Academy of Performing Arts collated a sensible quartet of works for Sunday afternoon’s concert. Conductor Fabian Russell and the Monash strings made a positive impression right from the opening with John Adams’ Shaker Loops, handled with impressive aplomb, particularly in the outer movements where bowing and dynamic details came across with as much clarity as you hear from other more experienced bodies.
Not particularly jazz-connected, this work was followed by Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G which does have some bluesy passages, notably in the first movement. Soloist James Russo showed a clear command of the rapid-fire technical demands in more frenetic moments; he also exhibited a calm control of phrase in the middle Adagio’s elegant right-hand fioriture chains with their moving modulations. Apart from a tendency by the soloist to force the pace – and an occasional sluggish brass response – this impressed as a well-contrived interpretation.
Nexus by Don Banks is rarely heard these days but its fusion of jazz quintet and full orchestra is well worth reviving. The central ensemble is not over-stressed and the material remains attractively vibrant, its amalgamation of forces here working without fuss, including fine improvised solos from the quintet’s sax and trumpet.
The title work is a 1943 Duke Ellington composition, its creator preaching the symphonic jazz doctrine at some length; this performance was of a later, truncated version and as successful as the afternoon’s opening with few surface flaws and a great deal of commitment.
- Sign up to the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music’s monthly newsletter!
Clarinet Mega Day Returns in 2017!
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University invites all clarinet players to the fifth annual Clarinet Mega Day. Come along for a day of all things clarinet!
Monash University Emerging Music Prizes 2017
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music are offering four Emerging Music Prizes valued at … Continue reading Monash University Emerging Music Prizes 2017
School of Music well represented in 2017 Art Music Awards
Finalists for the Australian Music Centre’s 2017 Art Music Awards were announced last week, and … Continue reading School of Music well represented in 2017 Art Music Awards
New book by Monash musicologist Dr Paul Watt explores the legendary career of British music critic Ernest Newman
Dr Paul Watt’s latest book, Ernest Newman: A Critical Biography, has just been published. Ernest … Continue reading New book by Monash musicologist Dr Paul Watt explores the legendary career of British music critic Ernest Newman
After Julia performed by Decibel New Music Ensemble
After Julia is a concert by Decibel New Music of eight contemporary works by Australian … Continue reading After Julia performed by Decibel New Music Ensemble
Richard Divall 1945-2017
One of the most distinguished Australian musicians, Professor Fra Richard Divall, died on 15 January, … Continue reading Richard Divall 1945-2017
Audition Preparation Short Course, 2017
Jazz, Popular Studies and Creative Music Technology Audition Preparation Short Course 2017 is a two-day course for jazz instrumentalists, jazz voice, popular voice and Creative Music Technology students.
Zavod Classical-Jazz Fusion Award 2017
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University is pleased to introduce the Zavod Classical-Jazz Fusion Award for outstanding classical-jazz fusion original composition and performance.
Rob Burke and Andrys Onsman Launch New Book: Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music
Coordinator of Jazz and Popular Studies Rob Burke, alongside Andrys Onsman, have launched their new … Continue reading Rob Burke and Andrys Onsman Launch New Book: Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music
New book published on nineteenth-century popular music
Dr Paul Watt (Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music) and Dr Patrick Spedding (LLCL)—with Professor Derek B. Scott (University of Leeds)—are the editors of a new book: Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century: A Cultural History of the Songster
Professor Cat Hope appointed Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University is pleased to welcome Cat Hope … Continue reading Professor Cat Hope appointed Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music