Venetian Songs (Elder Conservatorium of Music) Adelaide 17 June, 2016
This was a nice programme of short, light but not inconsequential French song cycles, beautifully sung (in French) by soprano Rosalind Martin accompanied by Roy Howat on piano. Composers such as Chausson, Poulenc (from poems by Apollinaire, including a great slacker’s song where the protagonist says he’d rather smoke than work), and Satie, created varying moods, most of them moving.
Though my dodgy French found it hard to keep up, I liked the Satie song (Le Chapelier by René Chalupt) that has the Mad Hatter complaining that his watch is three days slow, despite him greasing its works with butter and dunking it in his cup of tea to dislodge crumbs.
But the best songs were a Venetian cycle by Gabriel Fauré from poems by Paul Verlaine, exquisitely set and successful enough to bail the poet out financially, for a time.
When Rosalind Martin sang a spooky piece about apparitions, Mandoline, a ghostly hand appeared at a window high up above.
It may have been a university worker cleaning the ancient Elder Hall windows – it may have been Cathy Earnshaw complaining about the cold – who can tell?