Heart to Heart is Australian composer David Kotlowy’s world-class fusion of Ancient Japanese and modern Indonesian instruments, song, music and culture.
The Space Theatre stage was set for an intimate performance of Koibitotachi (The Lovers) – the first of two song-cycles – with an assortment of exquisite furniture, ornaments and trinkets positioned behind a rice-paper screen draped with a length of traditional red, black and gold fabric. One single red candle in a brass candleholder stood to attention, and the show began.
The fact that the performance was presented in different languages (Japanese, French and Indonesian) provided an interesting challenge that served to heighten other senses as the audience sought to ascertain the meaning. Duo Trystero delivered the magic, with the angelic tones of tenor Robert Macfarlane matched by the focus and passion of guitarist Alex Tsiboulski. The floor-to-ceiling hand-drawn images by Jumaadi added colour and delight to this sensual feast.
The second piece, Lagu Cinta (Love Songs), saw the arrival of the Gamelan In Situ ensemble and the unveiling of the rest of the stage, along with the pure bronze, antique instruments that produce a sound which seems to come directly from heaven.
This piece is a contemporary intersection of poetry and music that enriches and engages the audience with its dynamic rhythm and harmony, and was performed majestically by husband and wife team Robert Macfarlane and soprano Kate Macfarlane. Gamelan In Situ created a soundscape of absolute splendor with their disciplined renditions of these extraordinary works which readily transport the viewer to another time and place.
At the end of the performance, as each artist moved down stage for the applause, David Kotlowy was glowing with joy and the performers appeared connected and proud, just like a happy family.
© Patricia Herreen 2013