I am constantly surprised and delighted by the richness and diversity of cultural life in Blackheath but never more so than when presented with the opportunity to enjoy the talents of two of Australia's leading musicians on November 30.
The concert, entitled From Paris With Love, was held at the Uniting Church and showcased the considerable talents of flute virtuoso Michael Scott and his brilliant accompanist Sumiko Yamamura.
The program of French music for flute and piano was carefully crafted to present a varied and contrasting assortment of music which Scott plays with real authority. Having been awarded the Premier Prix de Flute at the Paris Conservatoire of Music, where he studied under such luminaries as Gaston Crunelle and Jean-Pierre Rampal, he is intimately acquainted with music of this genre and plays it to perfection.
The concert began with a Suite of Three Pieces by Benjamin Godard which highlighted Michael's considerable technical prowess and the empathetic blending of soloist and accompanist.
This was followed by Mozart's Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (admitted to the program because it is based upon a French folk song). This piece threw the spotlight on to the considerable talents of Yamamura.
Scott has often spoken of the difficulty of finding an accompanist with the musical sensibilities and delicacy of touch that are necessary for performing French music (and the music of Mozart) and it became clear that, in Yamamura, he had found that person.
No composer could be more French that Faure and his lovely Fantasie (Op 79) showcased the beauty and agility of the flute to perfection.
And the Strange, Unknown Flowers by Charles Delany was a new experience for most in the audience and began with a masterful and moving recitation by Ralph Andrews of the poem by Thomas Wolfe. What followed was a piece of great beauty and melancholy that the beautiful acoustic of the church made even more moving.
Astor Piazolla's Café 1930 (from Histoire du Tango) is a staple of the flute repertoire and was brought to life beautifully.
The lovely acoustic also enhanced the performance of the popular Meditation by Massenet and garnered an audible sigh from the near capacity audience.
Good Night (op 36) by Henryk Gorecki ended the program and gave many in the audience their first chance to hear the unique qualities of the alto flute. While the minimalist style of the accompaniment was not to all listeners' tastes the haunting flute melody was arresting.
A virtuosic encore made a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable and varied night of music by master musicians.
I sincerely hope this is not the last we will hear from this outstanding duo.
- Richard Percival is a renowned saxophonist, now a resident of Blackheath.