Guitar Feast @ Star Theatre Two at Star Theatres, Hilton SA 4/3/2023

Technically brilliant, rhythmically breath-taking, and compositional genius combined to deliver a stellar performance. This is what the Fringe is all about – arts, music, and talent showcased to an enthralled audience.

For the second year, and second performance of the year, five of the finest graduates from the esteemed Elder Conservatorium of Music treated a packed house to a sensational feast of classical guitar. A beautifully curated repertoire of local and international compositions whetted our appetite for unlimited virtuosity.

Megan Robson’s appetiser of two movements from Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba in the form of intricate fingering and technical precision set the table for the next hour. Then, a piece that could hold its own as a soundtrack for a Hollywood epic set in Tuscany or the south of France evoked the beauty of different times of day. Written and performed by James Rawley, he was accompanied by Caleb Lavery-Brook. It was a pleasure to witness these two young masters so thoroughly enjoy playing these duos. Later in the hour we were treated to another solo composition by Rawley, performed by the musician himself.

A fiery French Mediterranean course from Libra Sonatine by Dyens was served up by the technically brilliant Emanuel Auciello. Performed by heart, the top notes in the Fuoco shone above the elaborate accompaniment. Pizzicato and showy percussive elements were expertly combined to provide extra spice to this dish.

Nigel Westlake’s Six Fish was performed exquisitely by four of the guitarists, also known as the Opal Guitar quartet. This modern, Australian composition was a perfect choice for the main course of the feast – it certainly was a lot of fun to watch and the musicians were clearly enjoying themselves up on stage.

The highlight for this reviewer was the world premiere of Tapas for guitar quintet by Caleb Lavery-Brook. So much talent in this composition where the lively and rhythmic elements reminded us of the flavours of Spain. Enchanting melodic moments gave way to percussive rhythms all creating the sensation of basking under a late afternoon sun, replete from great wine, food, and music. A few comedic moments also showcased the camaraderie in this group.

A full house was demonstrably appreciative as the hour came to an end. Here’s to an even bigger venue and perhaps more performances in 2024. I highly recommend attending any performances by any of these guitarists.

Five stars, one for each of the stellar guitarists.

Fringe Review by Kim Burley

Season has ended

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