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Hausmusik – a unique concert experience

Arts in the Valley will present its Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival over the weekend of 3-5 May, 2019. The Festival will feature a stellar line up of performers in various settings and will once again feature a beautiful exhibition of sculpture.

There are new elements as well this year. For example, an ‘old-fashioned’ picnic and concert in the park with a band, the band being none other than that of the Royal Australian Navy. Having them is a major coup for the Valley.

Following the band on Sunday afternoon there will be a performance of Nick Enright’s brilliant poem, The Maitland and Morpeth String Quartet, featuring our very own Jillian O’Dowd as narrator and the Acacia Quartet playing snippets of well-known classical quartet music compiled, arranged and composed by Vincent Plush.

One of the most notable features of our Festival is our series of hausmusik concerts in private homes. These events on Saturday and Sunday provide the opportunity to have some novel concerts alongside more traditional classical music. An example of ‘novel’ will be the presentation of Percy Grainger’s British folk song settings sung by leading Australian baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright AO. This concert will not only contain some of the most beautiful vocal music written in the twentieth century but will combine Coleman-Wright’s performances with a narration by Jane McKellar of the story of the collection of the raw material -the folk songs- and Grainger’s subsequent transformation of these into exquisite vocal masterpieces.

Another concert with a novel twist will be the presentation by Sydney Brass on Saturday 4th, in which the audience will not only experience outdoors a program of uplifting brass quintet music in a beautiful garden setting but will also encounter as part of the experience the traditional French hunting horn (the trompe de chasse = horn of the chase). No doubt the fox population of Kangaroo Valley - a large population I am told - will have some form of ancient DNA memory of the fearsome sound of this hunting horn (fearsome to foxes), and upon hearing it, will depart Kangaroo Valley forever.

Our hausmusik concerts also provide more traditional fare for chamber music lovers. In one concert duo pianists Natalia Ricci and Michael Endres will ‘extend’ the piano by incorporating into the recital music for 2 ,3, 4 (and possibly more) hands. All on one piano.

How can patrons possibly choose from such a line-up of concerts? Against what has been mentioned already will be the opportunity to hear the combination of Lane, Clerici and Haveron playing Rachmaninoff and Schubert (sublime) as well as the brilliant Acacia Quartet playing Dvorak’s ‘American’ Quartet (equally sublime). The range on offer makes choosing an impossibility.

The hausmusik concerts are performed in some of the beautiful homes of Kangaroo Valley which are generously donated for the purpose by their owners. This adds yet another dimension: our patrons will have the opportunity to experience the best music and performances against a backdrop of the great beauty, peace and serenity of Kangaroo Valley.

Robert Constable

Festival Director


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