Adelaide Guitar Festival – The Seasons – 5K

By Heather-Jean Moyes

The Guitar Festival – The Seasons is a twelve-movement composition written for solo piano by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In last night’s performance it was arranged for two guitars by Slava and Leonard’s father Edward Grigoryan and performed by the brothers with all of the consummate skill and expertise usually attributed to them. The quality of this union, the musicality of their performance and the range of expression that they deliver are astounding. Delicate notes, crystal clear strains of clarity and exquisite finesse blend with rich luscious warmth and emotional tones.

My favourite months were May for its cyclic repetition of a gentle but firm melody, July for its contrasts and October again for a strong melody that kept assuring me that the magic would endure, that the genius would not fail. This brilliant performance is available on DVD – There is a God and he’s clearly a fan!

Oliver Fartach-Naini quipped something jovial about following such an act. Difficult as that may have been the team surpassed my hopes. Schubert’s Winterreise is one of the world’s most cherished song cycles and is based on the poems of Willhelm Müller. In a unique arrangement for guitars and voice, Oliver Fartach-Naini and Lee Song-Ou played a selection of 14 songs from the cycle; they were joined by acclaimed lyric coloratura tenor Henry Choo. The sorrowful tone of the work is reminiscent of German lullabies and a kind of open-air Arcadian certitude and fatalism. Choo’s voice radiated those values with warmth and honesty.

The combination of power and delicacy in his voice gave life to the material and his control introduced a wonderfully engaging dramatic tension and suspense. The accomplished duo: Oliver Fartach-Naini and Lee Song-Ou supplied a superlative, supple and charming backbone to the performance, supporting Choo and expressing every bit as much understanding of the narrative. The overall effect saw the audience being led away into a timeless world where now and again the hairs bristled on the back of the neck as the audience hung onto every note and every audible meaning regardless of the language barrier.

Kryztoff Rating:    5K

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