Mostly Romantic: Violin Works from the 19th C and early 20th C

Cedar-Rose Newman (violin), Joy Liu (violin) & John Martin (piano)

Wednesday 1st June, 2016

Having retired quite some years ago and thereby growing older I do tend to spend considerable time in what my older daughter calls my Cave. I enjoy my cave, surrounded by books, with my computer handy and some good music. Yet I also enjoy going out and about, especially to St Jude’s. I think the Southern Highlands is very fortunate and blessed to have St Jude’s well established. It has become a centre of and focal point for enjoyable and rewarding music. Some of the music is presented by national and international musicians and groups. What is special is the fortnightly Wednesday Midweek Lunchtime Recital (as they are called). Generally these provide opportunity for local musicians - and there is a remarkable and wide range of musical talent located in the Southern Highlands with some from nearby places such as Canberra and Goulburn.

The Mostly Romantic recital was not quite local although there is a strong connection with the Highlands. There were three performers. John Martin was the accompanist (on the new Yahama grand piano) for two young performers who are remarkably accomplished violinists given their ages. John Martin is a very polished pianist who is a celebrated Australian performer. There is no doubt that having such an accomplished pianist accompanying while playing the violin gave the two young performers great confidence. John was introduced by Dr Allan Beavis as almost - in effect - pianist in resident in St Jude’s, something for which we can be grateful.

After John Martin demonstrated how accomplished he is by playing Claude Debussy’s Arabesque No 1, he accompanied Joy Liu who played pieces by Ernst Bloch [Nigun (Improvisations)], a Swiss born American composer through the first half of the 20th Century, and Henryk Wieniawski (Pollonaise Brilliant No.1), a 19th Century Polish violinist and composer. Joy is almost local, being from Wollongong where she, at 17, is still an high school student. From her performance she surely is a talented violinist who shows poise and precision in her manner of playing. We were privileged to be introduced to Joy and her lovely playing.

Cedar-Rose Newman was the third performer. Cedar-Rose is almost a local; her Grandmother is a well known local musician who performs in St Jude’s; and she (Cedar-Rose) has performed a number of times, most recently at the end of April when she gave an outstanding performance on the piano. I first heard Cedar-Rose at St Jude’s some three years ago and always have looked forward to her performing. At only 12 years - 9 when I first heard her - she really is very talented; while she plays the piano very well her first love seems to be the violin. With the strong support of John Martin accompanying her she performed Beethoven (Romance No. 2 in F), Henryk Wiebiawiski (Romance Andante), the American composer and pianist Amy Beach (Romance for Violin and Piano Op. 22), and the Claude Debussy-Jascha Heifetz Beau Soir.

Cedar-Rose performs with poise, confidence and clearly great skill with her violin. Yet such accomplishments come from her commitment to the instrument and the music. Cedar-Rose is self-motivated to practise upwards of six hours daily which is apparent from the way she presents herself and the beauty of her playing. I have been privileged to be present at a number of her performances over the past three years and come away grateful and impressed, and wondering: what will be the future for this lovely and talented girl as she continues to practise and then to perform? And I might point out that she will be performing again in St Jude’s before the end of this year although there is not as yet a specific date. I can but say: Watch the St Jude’s Music Association site for information and make sure you come and listen to this remarkable young musician.

It was indeed a privilege to be present for the recital by Cedar-Rose Newman and Joy Liu, accompanied by John Martin.

Stanley Croker