Carl Vine on the Gift of Music
The 2011 Huntington Estate Music Festival finished on Sunday 27 November. Though the weather was not our friend – I’m reliably informed that by the weekend not a single gumboot could be purchased anywhere in Mudgee – the music, food and wine all combined once again to create a powerful feeling of fellowship through shared experience. This year’s program leaned heavily towards the adventurous, following strong leads from some of the remarkable performers. If you couldn’t attend this year, make sure to look for the broadcasts on ABC Classic FM in the early months of 2012.The festival in 2012 will again feature the rich, warm sonority of brilliant young string players from the Australian National Academy of Music, whose predecessors were such a hit in Mudgee last year. It’s great to have a full chamber orchestra back on stage, especially one so intense and energised, and to be able to expand the repertoire possibilities.
Recent analysis in the mainstream media suggests that people are currently less likely to spend their money on ‘things’, but more likely to buy ‘experiences’. Events like music festivals, or a Musica Viva concert, fit the bill perfectly. Experiences can last a lifetime and don’t require dusting, feeding, watering, storage, upgrades or replacement batteries. They are handmade by people who have spent a lifetime honing their craft, and remind us all of the incredible heights that can be reached through sheer determination and indomitable spirit. If you enjoyed any Musica Viva concerts this year, perhaps some of your friends or family might enjoy this kind of opportunity next year. (To put not too fine a point on it, Musica Viva gift vouchers make lovely presents!)
Musicians don’t really get holidays. Practice remains a daily discipline even when they take a break from performing, and composers never stop thinking about music even if they’re not actually writing any down. Although the Musica Viva staff takes a break across Christmas and New Year, it is otherwise a surprisingly busy time of year for us. Our loyal box office personnel keep making sure that our subscribers are happy, and start selling the first ‘single’ tickets for the 2012 season (the amazing Tafelmusik ‘Galileo Project’ concerts).
But ‘tis the season to be jolly, and I hope you have much to make you so. May you have a refreshing summer break and I hope to see you in concert halls around Australia next year.