|JOSIE AND THE EMERALDS
It is easy to become a fan of the group Josie and the Emeralds. Gigs see the group celebrating their identity as a modern viol consort in all senses of the term. The group plays early and contemporary music and collaborates with special guests from the local and overseas early music industry. Concerts contain repeats of favourites from the Josie and the Emeralds repertoire.
Timely Paschal drama was reflected in the music chosen and was dazzling in the capable voices of the group’s vocalist Josie Ryan with guest soprano, Belinda Montgomery. The staging and delivery of Guillaume Bouzignac’s motet Ecce Homo featuring Pontius Pilate in the pulpit and a bloodthirsty crowd at altar steps below was riveting staging.
The viol players displaying the consort’s characteristic timbre shone like the true jewels they are. Instrumental pieces in original format as well as fine arrangements from several Renaissance period countries were presented and enhanced through interesting programme notes.
The experience of visiting virtuoso Mary Springfels complimented the group well. Her string playing in the Pavan by composer and viol player Tobias Hume was a thrilling early music performance and example of the capabilities of the instrument.
On the contemporary music side, Brooke Green’s popular arrangement of Andrea Pandolfo’s emotional refugee lament Albanese was once again heartily welcomed. The reprise of Green’s work for viol consort, ‘Shades of Presence Past’ also added a new movement for this concert, with more promised.
The celebrity of composer-viol player Brooke Green and her group ‘Josie and the Emeralds’ was strengthened with the success of this concert’s final work, Traveling to the Question. A fine answer was given to an anonymous challenge to weave the elements of chant, a Nick Cave song and a fragment of twentieth-century philosophical text into a piece for the group. The premiere of this work created a refined and rich tapestry. Any composer or ensemble would be envious of the result. Fan appeal was instantly augmented. A merchandise stand will soon be needed!
Josie and the Emeralds’s concert ‘Traveling to the Question’. Played the St Johns Church, Glebe on Saturday 23rd March, 2013
© Paul Nolan
24th March, 2013
Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- JOSIE AND THE EMERALDS, TRAVELING TO THE QUESTION, Sydney Arts Guide, Paul Nolan