Matthias Schlubeck’s Magic Pan Flute

Sunday 12 November at 2pm

Matthias Schlubeck – pan flute

Joachim Neugart – piano and organ

Flinders1

There is no better way to spend a sunny Spring afternoon than soaking up the glorious music of pan flute and pipe organ within the historic surrounds of St John’s Anglican Church in Flinders.

St John’s Flinders is a well-known venue hosting the annual Peninsula Summer Music Festival in January and attracts world-class musicians throughout the rest of the year. The most recent concert at St John’s brought musicians Matthias Schlubeck and Joachim Neugart all the way from Germany for a five-concert tour throughout Australia. Neugart is currently the choirmaster at the Basilica of St Quirinus in Neuss. Schlubeck is one of the world’s leading pan flutists, having graduated with distinction from the highest degree in music at the Music College in Wuppertal, launching his career as a world-renowned soloist and recording artist.

phoca_thumb_l_schlubeck13-03-lSchlubeck delighted and amazed Flinders audiences with baroque and classical repertoire beautifully adapted and played on pan flute, accompanied by Neugart on the Bechstein grand piano and William Anderson 1874 pipe organ. Many of the works were originally written for oboe (Albinoni’s Concerto Op. 9 No. 2), flute (Mozart’s Andante from Concerto in D and Rutter’s Suite Antique) and choir (Rheinberger’s Abendlied), and yet Schlubeck was able to play each and every note of these complex and demanding works with great virtuosity, artistry and finesse.

Schlubeck’s self-composed work Deep Colours, written specifically for pan flute, explored special sounds and colours not overtly shown in the classical pieces, including flutter tonguing (rolling the tongue whilst blowing to create a unique vibration through the tone of a note) and resonant tonal ‘pops’ made with the open mouth cavity to create a kind of pizzicato (the sound that stringed instruments make when they pluck a string).

Accompanying Schlubeck on the grand piano with seemingly effortless musical flair, Joachim Neugart also brought the church pipe organ to life with two virtuosic solos, Louis Vierne Carillon de Longpont and Johann Sebastian Bach Toccata in D Minor.

1503805801

Together Schlubeck and Neugart made a vibrant team that was a pleasure to witness. Apart from the magical virtuosity and skill of these two musicians together, what truly captured the audience’s heart was Schlubeck’s personable nature, sense of humour and passion for the pan flute. These qualities enabled him to further engage with the audience through the music itself and also by explaining some of the principles of pan flute playing, saying a few words about the history of the instrument and making people laugh with the occasional musical joke.

After the concert, Schlubeck was genuinely pleased to discuss his artform with those  lingering in the church. Schlubeck shared the story of how and why he began playing the pan flute. He spoke of how, at the age of 5, when the other school children were learning the recorder, his primary school teacher found a pan flute and began learning how to play it so that he could teach Schlubeck. Because Schlubeck was born without hands and forearms, it was an instrument that he could play. It is remarkable to think that if Schlubeck had been born with arms like most others, he may never have had the opportunity and impetus to pursue playing the pan flute, developing into the musical wonder he is today. It is a blessing to have met him and experienced the magic of his fine music. Matthias Schlubeck is truly an inspiration.

400231231-schlubeck-1M4fD5Zua7

Peninsula SMF2018

Visit these websites for more information:

Matthias Schlubeck – schlubeck.com

Peninsula Summer Music Festival – peninsulafestival.com.au

 

Thank you to Bendigo Bank who kindly supported this event

Circus Oz – Intrigue, amazement, live music and laughs for all

Sunday 9 October 2016 at 1:30pm, in Frankston Arts Centre’s main theatre

Glittering in a silver A-line dress, a large spiky, silver fascinator on her head and sporting a baritone saxophone, musical director Ania Reynolds stood in front of the red velvet curtains. The show began with a few deliberate, wild honks of her instrument. The curtain was raised to reveal other musicians playing unusual-looking instruments. A musical game ensued, setting the theatrical tone for the show.

Image result for image of circus oz 2016

The drum kit player and keyboard player were positioned at the rear and centre of the stage and anchored the musical narrative throughout. At some point during the show, nearly all of the performers played various instruments. This not only added to the richness of the soundscapes, but demonstrated that the performers are capable of an impressive diversity of skills in addition to a great variety of circus acts. For example, I observed performer Matt Wilson, at various points throughout the show, play the guitar, juggle silver batons amongst a group, play percussion, balance on one leg atop chairs stacked seven-high, and perform tricks on vertical poles.

Of course, the show was not about what one person can do in isolation. Circus Oz created magic and intrigue by seamlessly bringing together performing artists and art forms to complement each other. For each circus act, a unique atmospheric mood was cleverly created with live music. I was impressed and delighted by the wide range of musical genres and atmospheres married with each act. Fun Latin rhythms met dancing and tumble turns through hoops stacked three-high; funk grooves set the tone for a clever display of baton juggling amongst a group of seven people; a hard rock beat backed a ‘fire fighter’ climbing a ‘hose’ rope suspended from the ceiling, performing death-defying tumbles and falls; sparse jazz, eerie toy piano or slow ethereal keyboard effects were used for more still acts such as slow acrobatics focussing on strength and grace.

circus-oz-2016

In true Circus Oz fashion, the performance content was subtly interwoven with themes relevant to Australian culture now. Hosting the show was a character wearing a jacket sequined with colours forming an Indigenous flag. References to gay culture, transgender and the ‘new age’ spiritual movement were dropped here and there. A character by the name of ‘Infinity Love Beads’, whose narrative throughout the show was to perform a convincing ‘levitation’, used clever plays on words for tongue-in-cheek digs at the ‘new age’ movement and the current generation. Mixing up words such as ‘terrorist’ with ‘tarot-ist’ and ‘entitlement’ with ‘enlightenment’ provided some laughs for the adults in the theatre. There were many opportunities for all-ages comedy too, with the use of good-old slapstick humour.

Image result for image of circus oz 2016

Having only seen Circus Oz perform under the big top prior to this show, I was interested to see how they adapted their performance for a much smaller theatre space. A large four-pronged, reinforced frame was arced high over the stage and this was used to suspend ropes, cables and trapeze. Though not immediately obvious to the audience, there was a strong person climbing up and down the structure like a concealed Spiderman, responsible for changing the various apparatus needed for each act, and using his body-weight to adjust the length of the cable suspended from the frame.

Though the show was packed full of quirk, amazement, live music and humour for all, I must admit that my favourite part of the show was more subdued, atmospheric and dance-like. After the interval, an intriguing percussion contraption was left in front of the curtain. On it, hung two drums, various bells, triangles, woodblocks and gongs. This contraption was played by three people to produce an eerie, ambient aura with string sounds, scrapes, ‘tocks’, gentle bells and cymbals. The sounds were used to respond sensitively to the graceful movements of a young man who was slowly twisting, turning, arcing and flexing his body on the floor to roll and cradle juggling balls around his body with ultimate control. It was a mesmerising display of sophisticated ensemble and movement, demonstrating the breadth of skill and artistic mastery that Circus Oz is capable of. For those seeking laughs and awe-inspiring spectacle, to those who enjoy fine artistry, Circus Oz 2016 is truly a show for everyone.

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker