Sunday 5 November at 3.15pm
(NB this Recital commences at 3.15pm)
Diana Weston & Michael Tsalka
(Piano & Harpsichord)
Music for harpsichord and piano
Guest artist Dr Michael Tsalka is an internationally acclaimed pianist, harpsichordist and teacher. He is currently Associate Professor teaching at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen. This concert celebrates an enduring friendship and partnership in music with Thoroughbass’ director Diana Weston with two works by Australian composers well-known to audiences in the Highlands - Ann Carr-Boyd and Elena Kats-Chernin.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Six Variations on the song Ich denke dein (Goethe) for piano 4 hands, sung by Dr Angelica Minero Escobar.
Moonrise over Lake Argyle for piano and harpsichord
Ancient Letters for harpsichord and piano
The Ancient Letters are the first known documents of the Sogdian people who lived across what is today Uzbekhistan, the place where I was born. The letters dated from the 4th century were discovered ca 16 centuries after being written, in an abandoned watchtower, far to the east of the main city Samarkand along the Silk Road to China.
1. "Tiger Cub": Two of the five letters concern a woman called Tiger Cub or Mewnai. Tiger Cub has not seen or heard of her husband for three years. He has disappeared somewhere along the Silk Road. She despairs for the years ahead. We will never know what did happen to Tiger Cub. I have written a portrait of this feisty, desperate, beautiful, deserted woman the way I see her. The harpsichord begins the movement alone. Sometimes I find that instrument to have a suspended, disembodied quality which can be used to expressive advantage. When the orchestra enters it is with unrelenting opposition to the more soulful first theme. The struggle between the two forces charges the whole movement; the harpsichord being the more human character, the orchestra representing the harsh and often barbarous reality of an uncertain life in a place that can be formidably glorious but savage too.
2. "Musk Trade": Trade is one of the main topics in the correspondence. The Sogdian travellers dealt in musk, silk and silver. Musk Trade is a movement in two distinct parts; the slow, aromatic Musk featuring in a series of orientally dusted melodies, then the fast Trade of deal-makers, rush-hour and negotiations. Soloist and strings take up a marketplace tune based on an extended C minor 7th chord. This is buffeted by cameos representing the different industries; metal (chords), cloth (scales), spice (harpsichord clusters).
3. "Goodbye Samarkand": The city of Samarkand is one of the oldest in the world. It is hot, dry, remote. There is a real sense of displacement that haunts the Sogdian letters, these people are living yawning distances from families and usually with no real hope of going home, to Samarkand, 2000 miles away. In Goodbye Samarkand I have written a little ballad to home - the place, to paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, you can never go again. The melody came to me as I imagined looking back at a desert horizon and realising that life is different forever; a mix of misgivings, hopes and longings.
Moonrise over Lake Argyle is Intended for harpsichord and fortepiano, this piece could also be played on two fortepianos, or harpsichord and modern piano.
Lake Argyle is situated in Western Australia in the region of Kununurra in the north of the state. It was created artificially and is three times the size of Sydney Harbour. Anyone who has been there says the experience is incredibly beautiful and like no other place on this earth. Diana Weston visited Lake Argyle in 2019 and the photo on the cover was taken by her. The native title holders of the area around Kununurra are the Mirriwoong Gajenrrong People and their language is Mirriwoong.
The sections of the piece have subtitles :
Setting Sun, The waters of the Lake are calming down as they do at sunset and the birds are preparing to go to bed - little twittering birds appear in the harpsichord and with a final flourish they settle down for the night
Moonrise: The moon is rising over this magic stretch of water and all is calm. Harpsichord has a peaceful melody over accompaniment from the fortepiano. The accompaniment suggests the gentle lapping of the water.
Darting Fish. The birds have gone to sleep, but now the fish which have come to inhabit this lake, can be seen darting about in the water - sometimes like quicksilver - reflected by the music, which in other places has a rather sleepy syncopated rhythm.
Serene Moon As the moon rises a sense of calm descends upon the Lake and its surrounds and a mysterious melody reflects the ancient land whose mountains and rocks reflect so many years under the sun. Finally the moonrise music returns in its original key and this time the harpsichord wanders through the accompaniment with a rather abstract melody until the final bars, when one very small fish makes a surprise appearance.
Michael Tsalka is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at the School of Music, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. As a pianist and Early Keyboard performer, he has won numerous prizes in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. He is a versatile musician, who performs repertoire from the early Baroque era to our days. He was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. After studies in Israel, Germany and Italy, he graduated in 2008 from Temple University (U.S.A) with a D.M.A. in Piano Performance and an M.M. in Early Keyboard Performance and Chamber Music. His mentors included Lambert Orkis, Joyce Lindorff, Harvey Wedeen, as well as Dario di Rosa, Klaus Schilde, Malcolm Bilson, David Shemer, Sandra Mangsen, and Charles Rosen.
Prof. Tsalka maintains a busy concert schedule, performing circa 110 concerts a year worldwide. Recent engagements included Hall of Central Harmony in Beijing Forbidden City, Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, St. Denis Festival in Paris, Beethoven House in Bonn, Tokyo's City Opera, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Volksbühne in Berlin, the Jerusalem Music Centre, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the ElbPhilharmonie in Hamburg, plus live performances for radio/television stations around the globe (Sydney, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Munich, Helsinki, Brussels, Geneva, and London.
Together with musicologist Dr. Angélica Minero Escobar, he has prepared a critical edition of Daniel Gottlob Türk's 30 keyboard sonatas for Artaria Editions in New Zealand.
He has recorded 28 critically acclaimed CDs for NAXOS, Grand Piano, Paladino, Brilliant Classics, IMI, Sheva Collection, Wirripang, and Ljud & Bild. Circa 65 contemporary compositions (which he premiered) were dedicated to him by composers from all over the world.
Dr. Tsalka has directed multiple festivals in China, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Finland. From 2002-2008, he taught at the Esther Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia. From 2009-2014, he taught at the Escuela Superior de Música, National Center for the Arts in Mexico City, and at Lilla Akademien, Stockholm. He has been an artist in residence at the NCMA in New Zealand (2018, 2020), and has presented over 145 master classes in academic institutions in all continents.
Wednesday 8 November at 1.15pm
Midweek Lunchtime Recital
Ann Carr-Boyd & Debbie Angus (Piano)
Charlotte Blake (Flute) &john Martin (Piano)
Sunday 12 November at 4.00pm
St Jude's Chamber Choir
Wednesday 15 November at 1.15pm
Midweek Lunchtime Recital
Allan Beavis (Organ)
18 November at 3.00pm
Berrima Singers Concert
St Jude's Church
Guest soloists and Highland Music Collective
Wednesday 22 November at 1.15pm
Midweek Lunchtime Recital
Glenn Amer (Organ)
Sunday 26 November at 3.30pm
29 November at 1.15pm
Mid-Weel Lunchtime Recital
Brett McKern (Organ)
Music for Advent & St Andrew's Day (30 November)
Brahms, Chorale prelude on Es ist ein Ros’entsprungen
Allan Robert Petker, Collage on Es Ist Ein’ Ros’
McKern, Voluntary on Wachet Auf Op.164
Francis Jackson, Repton from Three Hymn Tune Preludes
McKern, Voluntary on St Oswald Op.170 (premiere)
Langlais, Three Pieces
Wednesday 1 November at 1.15pm
Emerging Artist Concert
Jude Macarthur (Trumpet)