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Transform

Rosa Guitar Trio

16/5/21

Reviewer: Julie Martyn

Transform was the first performance of Ben Ellerby, Libby Myers and Joe Fallon together since September 2019. Even so, their timing was brilliant and balanced, a unity of sound.

Kicking off with an Astor Piazzolla tango, the sound soon settled after some screechy higher notes. This initial glitch might have impeded the trio’s settling into the perfomance. In what could have been languorously slow parts of the tango, the music was slightly tied down to an unwavering beat.  

Joe Fallon’s solo of a piece by Paraguayan composer, Agustin Barrios Mangore, was haunting and tender. He described it as a conservative piece for the era, written by someone who just loved to make beautiful music. It evoked the simple grace of that knocks the edges off that country’s poverty. Somehow this music illuminates the dreams of what might be with its soft undulations of tone.

Two movements from the Scaramouche Suite by Darius Milhoude showcased the mastery of this trio’s versatility and craft.  What they do with their fingers is beyond belief, from harmonics and fluff-plucking to good old Brazilian twang.

The clarity of their distinct voices, the synchronicity of pattern, tone and intensity were highlighted again in two separate pieces by Brisbane composers, Helen Saliner and Chris Perrin and a Dutch one, Bec Plexus.

The final work was a tour de force: the Fantasia Suite by Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin. It featured a myriad of variations on a theme, piled one on another like a heap of musical puns. The cliché of a suspenseful Mexican standoff was a splendidly overdrawn hack. Rosa Guitar Trio certainly didn’t take themselves at all seriously in this last one! Much more too in the 90 minute program.

There’s still time to see Libby Myers solo at Arcana on May 21st or 23rd.

TIP: To get to the venue, Arcana, if you are heading south along Ipswich Rd you’ll need to get onto the other side. Make a left at or before Granard Rd and double back. Otherwise you could get swept along to the Ipswich Freeway.