Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The World Premieres of Some of My Music

For the record, here's the review that appeared in the ODT of my concert, held on Saturday, the 30th Sept, 2006. It was written by Elizabeth Bouman.

A large audience in Marama Hall on Saturday evening enjoyed a programme of original works by Mike Crowl, whom many Dunedin people know as the quietly spoken man who operated a book shop in the Octagon.

Music fraternity have known of his involvement with Opera Alive, and as accompanist at vocal competitions with singers from 8-year-olds to ODT Aria contestants, but few knew of the ‘composer within’ until Saturday’s recital entitled The World Premieres of Some of My Music.

Crowl’s style in setting New Zealand poetry is delightfully contemporary without venturing into the extreme. It is witty, poignant and very singable, often ending with a whimsical touch.

Performing were Arnold Bachop, Rose Evans, Cally Hammond-Tooke, Benjamin Kidd, Glenys Murray, Brent Read, Helen Scott and Justin Scott, and pianist Richard Warnock.

The songs were mostly written for a particular singer or vocal teacher, and the fifteen performed varied in text, all with interesting stories as to how they evolved. Several set Ruth Dallas’ poems, and a group of five children’s songs included Eel-fishing, The Rooster and [The] Elephant, by J K Baxter. Response (Ursula Bethnell) [sic] was dialogue from an immigrant writing home about opposing seasons in the garden. Sabbath, Winter Warning, Church Sunday and Ecstasy, longer, more complex works with colourful varied accompaniment, were written for Brent Read, who travelled from Auckland to perform.

Piano Pieces for Kobi Bosshard were five impressive piano pieces, each inspired by a picture. The recital concluded with a captivating piano duet written to accompany (projected on screen) pages of a much loved children’s book, The Fence.

Crowl’s work is available for purchase, and may there be many future publications from this local musician.

I no longer work in a book shop, which hasn't been in the Octagon for two years - but reviewers can't be expected to keep up with everything. Ursula Bethell has no letter 'n' in it, either. Opera Alive was a group of young singers, 15 to 29 in age, who for perhaps ten years presented an annual concert/show. 20 to 25 singers would be involved, and it was a great learning ground for these people. I was involved for around seven years. Kobi Bosshard and his wife, Patricia, were neighbours of ours in the late seventies, and at that time Kobi was learning the piano. Unfortunately the pieces I wrote were just a little on the difficult side for someone still learning (!)

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