Organs of Ballarat Goldfields Festival full of surprises

The Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival programs tend to lean towards the traditional, including rarely performed compositions, with occasionally something completely different. 

The pleasant surprise occurred on Sunday night at the Mechanics Institute where Spanish harpsichordist Luisa Morales and folk dancer Christobal Salvador entertained an appreciative audience. 

The well thought-out program matched some of Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas with traditional Spanish dances. 

The realisation included castanets and costume, creating a sense of theatre, as the dance followed the rhythms and structure of the music, with pauses at the cadences.

Ultimately the dance revealed much about the music.

Organist Johan Hermans returned for two shared concerts with cellist Fabienne Venien at St Alipius and Carngham Uniting Churches. 

The programs displayed considerable variety of styles and moods. The ensemble playing was very well prepared, with an ease of communication between the players. 

The solo organ performances revealed once again a musician of enormous skill, giving meaning to the phrases with a fluent sense of rhythm. The ‘cello remained most comfortable in the lyrical pieces where its singing quality could be best exploited. 

The Duo for Organ and Flute concert at the Neil St Uniting Church was an easily accessible event, with flautist Luca Magni producing a glorious sound while clearly enjoying the material at hand. 

Organist Simone Valeri gave sympathetic support, and the program included a number of his simple but entertaining compositions.