Posted by: internationalroutier | November 8, 2010

Concert Review- Oranges and Lemons

Fine Knacks for Ladies
Damien and I made the trip up the hill Sunday afternoon to go the the Oranges and Lemons Concert.
It must be said that we were undeniably not the target audience. In fact the presence of the children’s choir seemed to shift the target audience strongly to parents and grandparents. This is fine, but by bringing along younger siblings who fussed and squirmed and played with noisy toys and talked and cried and ran up the aisle for the entirety of the production they showed great disrespect to all of the singers and musicians involved, never mind the audience. I know I was not alone in this feeling and kudos to the lady who at the end of the concert took issue with the ticket sellers over it. Instead of the ‘adults $15, children $5, under 5’s free’ pricing policy I would like to see the cost for under 5’s set at about triple the adult price. Or, more realistically a polite ‘this performance is unsuitable for under 5’s’ listing. Not unreasonable is it? Is it? I know I am verging on a tangential rant here but I think my own policy is going to be not to attend concerts with a ‘free under 5’s’. Damien, please remind me of this next time I suggest a similar outing.

Calm blue ocean. calm blue ocean. ahhhh, that’s better.

The first part of the program “Songs and Cries of London Town” was written by Bob Chilcott a contemporary British composer. It is unashamedly modern (ie. not 17thC) music but did feature a lot of ‘ho’ing and ‘ha’ing at the end of each line designed to invoke 17thC-y London-y street-y kind of vibe. Fairly unsuccessful for me this bit was.
The electric keyboard was terribly loud, the bongo (?) drums odd and the lyrics indistinguisable. They could have been singing about anything really. The only bit we could understand was when the children’s choir sang London Bells (about the bell of St Clement’s and all that).
There then followed four 17thC madrigals whose words we also couldn’t discern- apart from the odd word here or there. This is in part due to the style of music, but the fact that the singers were un-microphoned didn’t help (and we had some of the younger ears in the audience). For those interested the songs were Sing We and Chant it, Fine Knacks For Ladies, Sweet Kate and Come Again!. I was wishing for the album cover so I could follow along with the lyrics. When I got home and read some of the lyrics myself I was wishing that they had realised some of the double meanings so prevalent in 17thC music and played that aspect up a bit. Maybe they did and I couldn’t tell. Doubt it though.

Second half was “The Great Fire of London” by Alan Simmons; it’s Australian premiere in fact. The introduction by the conductor did help set the scene but as a narrative piece of music being able to discern the words would have been useful. I caught a bit about the east wind blowing, virginals (this is not a spelling error) in the Thames and predictably something to do with a bakery. The kids intro “London’s Burning; Fetch the Engines” in a round was a bit of an earworm today.

So in short, the production drastically hurt this little concert. But, I am still happy I went and supported a local arts group. I would do so again- as long as the non performing kids get left at home.

Couldn’t resist leaving you with Sting’s haunting performance of Fine Knacks for Ladies. Gotta love fan produced film clips!



  1. What a shame noone was at Taminick this year to enjoy our newly worked up rendition of “Fine Knacks”. Jackie, Andy and I learnt it in the car somewhere between Woomargama and Albury…
    Thanks for throwing yourself into the firing line of ART, Louise and Damien. The beers are on us.

    • At least I would have known the words! I look forward to hearing it in future:)

  2. Next time I’m just going to take a bag of tomotoes to throw at all the annoying people.

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