Passion to push pipe’s potential
LEGENDARY recorder player Genevieve Lacey’s enthusiasm for what she calls that “dear little instrument” is infectious.
“Its possibilities are infinite,” she said.
“I haven’t found the edges yet. I play to its directness. You’re only limited by your imagination.”
Lacey who grew up in Papua New Guinea is in Townsville for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music this week.
She took up the recorder when she was five, only because it was the instrument of choice of her brother, five years older. “It’s affordable,” she said. “You can quickly play tunes and get pleasure from it.
“Despite its simplicity, it’s a wooden pipe that crosses all cultures.”
Lacey owns 25. Each has own voice and mood.
She talks about them as if they are living souls.
Lacey conditions her instruments with almond oil and wraps them in deluxe cloth.
Most music teachers run cover when recorders mentioned.
Played en masse by keen beginners can be a punishing experience for the ear.
Yet, down- to- earth Lacey, despite all her fame and international touring, applauds the humble pipe’s accessibility. its for are “It suits me,” she said. “There aren’t any frills. The audience has high expectations when a violinist walks on stage. Not the case when a recorder player appears.”
Orchestras can steer clear of the recorder as a solo instrument. Lacey’s goal is to change this. She does a great job. All of Australia’s major orchestras have recruited her as soloist including the Australian and Melbourne Chamber orchestras.
To refine her golden mellow tone she practises half of each day.
“I’m obsessive,” she said. “You have to be.”
Many composers have written music for the recorder at her request: Andrea Keller, Elena KatsChernin, Paul Grabowsky and Peter Sculthorpe.
“When I play there’s a weightlessness, a timeless quality,” she said.
“I feel as if I’m just an element in a piece of music.
“It’s like stumbling across a magic portal like a secret garden or Narnia.
“I never know how to access the portal or where it is but when I stumble through it, it’s dreamy.” >> Genevieve Lacey will perform in the AFCM’s final concert Festival Farewell – Final Jamboree at Townsville Civic Theatre on Saturday at 7.30pm. THE Australian Festival of Chamber Music continues to shine this year, with a free performance at the Townsville Hospital yesterday afternoon from a well- known classical guitarist.
Patients were entertained by international artist Craig Ogden who has made his AFCM debut this year with various performances being held throughout the event.
Ogden performed in four areas of the hospital for day patients, outpatients and children, helping those awaiting medi medical l t treatmentt throughouth the day with something a bit different to pass the time.
Ogden said people really appreciated the music and it was a lovely thing to do.
“I love playing guitar. I’m happy doing that wherever it may be,” he said.
“There is something special about taking it to people rather than them coming to me.
“The main reaction came from the chemotherapy ward, where they really appreciated the live music.”
The Australian classical guitarist, whose albums have topped the UK classical charts, said the guitar was a niche instrument in the chamber music world. This was the first opportunity he had to come to the AFCM.
Ogden has performed concertos with all the main UK orchestras and many abroad and regularly appears as soloist and chamber musician at major venues, collaborating with the UK’s top artists and ensembles. DANNI SHAFIK