Entertainment Hive 2017

Brodsky Quartet & Katie Noonan: With Love and Fury

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

Sunday, May 1

Review by Honey B

In the hands of Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet music is a powerful tool. These five extremely talented musicians brought the poetry of the late Judith Wright to life with such driving, seething and haunting emotion. Each of the 10 poems had a different composer attached to it from Carl Vine to Elena Kats-Chermin, Richard Tognetti and David Hirschfelder. But before the concert began, Noonan with her platinum blonde quaffed hair and flowing black dress simply won the audience over with her understated: “Hello Radelaide’’. Noonan was simply mesmerising to watch as she becames one with the music and the lyrics as her voice soared, danced and dipped atop the luscious string melodies. The UK Brodsky Quartet was also alive in the music as their deft touch had the instruments go from joyous parts to melancholy yearning and blues. The violins, viola and cello of Daniel Rowland, Ian Belton, Paul Cassidy and Jacqueline Thomas all but spoke. The audience was eager to show its appreciation and during To A Child needed some guidance on when not to clap, which Noonan provided with some interesting facial expressions. There were also some lovely moments of banter between Noonan and the four string players – including a classic musicians joke. But Noonan again proved her beautiful down-to-earth nature when she commented on the football premiership win of the Adelaide United. It turned out there were even a few Reds fans in the audience as music, poetry and soccer collided. A highlight of the evening was Noonan’s own composition of The Surfer which featured a nod to Led Zeppelin. Carl Vine’s The Slope was haunting as was Iain Grainger’s Night After Bushfire and Richard Tognetti’s Metho Drinker was intoxicating. But it was the experimental feel of John Rodgers Failure To Communicate that blew the audiences’ minds. The second half of this delicately crafted, yet powerful show featured more easily accessible works from Bjork and Elvis Costello. The Brodsky Quartet showed of its phenomenal musicianship on a triple bill of Australian compositions including Peter Sculthorpe’s From Nourlangie, Andrew Ford’s Cradle Song and Robert Davidson’s Stradbroke. A bit of crazy and beautiful Bjork kept the upbeat mood going including Possibly Maybe before a heartfelt sing along to Sting’s Fragile. This haunting new song-cycle again showed off Noonan’s versatility with an exquisite string quartet in the Brodsky’s and powerful poetry by Judith Walker. Every nerve fibre was on fire throughout this spine-tingling performance.
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