John North, Lynlee Williams, Janis Cook

mezzo soprano

Sunday 1st June 2008 2 pm
(opp. St. Patrick’s Cathedral)
Melways 2F Kl

Meet the Artists

John North, who is of a Melbourne family in which there have been other principally with Gavin Saunders at Victoria University of Wellington. He worked in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for about eight years and in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for about twenty-eight years. He continues active as a player in Melbourne – as a violinist, as an ensemble player and as a smaller solo player; as a violist, in the Zelman Symphony Orchestra. He has long had an interest in contemporary Melbourne composition: this afternoon there are two composers present who have works on the program.
John North plays a Lloyd Adams viola, made in Sydney in 1933.

Lynlee Williams has been singing solo since she was 10 years old. In recent years, she has performed principal roles in operas such as Carmen, II Trovatore, Cosi fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata. Gianni Schicchi and Rigoletto at venues such as Her Majesty’s Theatre and The Athenaeum.

She has been a part of the Opera Australia Melbourne chorus for the last 12 years. She is a regular soloist in major classical works for many choirs and orchestras, in and around Melbourne. Last month, she performed Brahms “Alto Rhapsody” with the Melbourne Vocal Consort and the Australian Boys choir.

Last year, she was nominated for 4 awards (winning 2, “Best Female Voice” and “Best Female Actor”) at the Annual International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in the UK. This year, she will be covering a role in the Victorian Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s “The Coronation of Poppea” as well as being a part of the chorus for their production of “The Elixir of Love” by Donizetti.

Janis Cook commenced formal music tuition with Fiona Fraser and William Lowe. After studies in the U.S.A. and at the University of Melbourne she embarked on a varied career of performing and teaching that led to a full-time position as a repetiteur with the Australian Ballet. Five years touring Australia and overseas with this eminent company enabled her to work with many respected conductors, composers, dancers and choreographers and included solo performances on stage and television.

Since 1988 Janis has freelanced as a solo, session, chamber and orchestral musician. Highlights include A.B.C. radio recordings and direot broadcasts, many film soundtracks including “Babe”, frequent appearances on stage and C.D. as principal keyboard artist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, tours to Japan, Europe and Russia with the M.S.O., and duo recitals with fellow pianist Fiona Fraser in Australia and Europe featuring premieres of Australian compositions.

A keen chamber musician, Janis enjoys collaborating with friends and colleagues in a variety of ensembles. Look for forthcoming “Cook and Co.” concerts on the
SMART artZ Gallery website. Other exciting events include recitals at Forty-Five Downstairs, the MSO Chamber Players October concert, and a John Field piano concerto with the South Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Order of Program

William Flackton (1709-1798)
Sonata in G for viola and keyboard (1770)
Andante Allegro Minuetto primo, minuetto secondo

Barry McKimm (1941 -)
a) Andante Tranquillo for viola and piano (1997)
b) Concert Piece for viola and piano (1983)

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
“Sea Pictures”, (1897-9) for voice and piano
i. Sea Slumber Song (R. Noel)
ii. In Haven (C.A. Elgar)
iii. Sabbath Morning at Sea (E.B. Browning)
iv. Where Corals Lie (R. Garnett)
v. The Swimmer (A.L. Gordon)


Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989)
Sonata in D minor Op. 22 for viola and piano (1945)
Allegro ma non troppo Adagio Allegro

Dennis Vaughan (1948-)
Songs for mezzo soprano and viola (2008)
“What We Meant What We Really Meant to Say Was” (text: Randolph Nesbitt) (First Performance) (texts on separate sheet)

Frank Bridge (1879-1941) Three song? for medium voice, viola and piano
i. Far, far from each other (Kroeker, after Heine) (1906)
ii. Where is it that our soul doth go? (Kroeker/Heine) (1906)
iii. Music, when soft voices die (Shelley) (1903)

What We Really Meant to Say Was

very nearly almost weapons
of mass destruction-related program
or plans in the making
or on the drawing board and quite possibly
most of them look like regular cars or trucks
or sand dunes without
any real distinguishing features
and some may be cars but are in fact
going to be turned into something destructive
once we turn our backs and allow them
to pull those plans out of their back pockets
rest assured anyone in Iraq
making or holding plans or
planning or engaging in
any activities that
create something resembling or
shaped-like or smelling-like
a weapon of mass destruction
from a spy satellite
at 50,000 feet
will be held in the Cuba of our choice
until the plans disintegrate or
they have forgotten
the activity we deemed
to do this will
take lots of money
as tracking plans and
and the thoughts preceding
plans and activities
is a highly technical process
but we must stay the course
and make the journey
to Mars
as the technology
developed in the process
of this historic and
timely endeavor will
enable us
to destroy completely
the plans and activities
which are in the minds of
those individuals in the next
country we are planning on
I hope this
once and for all
clarifies what we meant

From 1958, Barry McKinim was involved in jazz and poetry, alongside his professional theatre work. By 1960 he slowly shifted into “free form” jazz, as it was then known. Jazz musicians lamented that this was destroying jazz. Artists, and some poets, were drawn to these new forms.

His little group moved into a period of experimentation producing developmental improvised music in contrast to the more traditional theme and variation forms. They invented tightly structured forms without fixed harmonies or harmonic sequence. What a puzzle! Could this be improvised composition?

By the mid- 60’s their jazz sounded like modern composed music. In 1967-68 Barry joined the MSO as a trumpet player. Around 1970, cliches, so often part of improvised music, became disengaging. He gave up improvisation for exact notation and composed works developed from melody and motif.

“In 1975 John North played in my String Trio 1, recorded by ABC. Very few players commissioned compositions. John North is an exception. He always has been. He has commissioned many works, providing practical encouragement for local composers. John North commissioned two works from me – Double Viola Concerto and Concert Piece.”
Since 1970 all Barry’s works have been for specific projects; orchestral, chamber music, band, ballet, theatre, choir, solo. Many works are for community groups. Barry McKimm retired from the MSO in 1997. In 2007, Kookaburra Music agreed to publish all his music.

Concert Piece for viola and piano by Barry McKimm

This work was commissioned by John North in 1983. It was to be a short piece, about 3-4 minutes in,duration to begin the second half of a recital. I decided that there should be a slow melody to begin with followed by a fast and vigorous finish. The second section, the fast part, is developed from the opening melody. As far as I know this work has only ever been played once. This is the second performance. For me it will be like the first performance all over again.

Andante Tranquillo by Barry McKimm

This piece started off as the second movement to my violin concerto 1980. On completing this work the soloist, for whom the piece was composed, Leonard Dommett, requested that I rewrite the second movement for viola. This movement became a separate work for solo viola and orchestra. Later in 1997 I rewrote the work for solo tuba and piano with a new development section. This was a gift for Gene Pokorny (Chicago Symphony) who had performed my tuba concerto on numerous occasions. The music is well suited to the lower voice of viola and it seemed to me equally attractive as a piece for solo tuba. Pokorny recorded the work for his “Big Boy” CD in 2000.

Since arriving in Australia from New Zealand in 1983, Dennis Vaughan has had an extensive and varied involvement in Melbourne’s music circles as an orchestral and recital musician, composer, arranger and teacher.

His performance career has covered work with symphony and chamber orchestras as well as recital, recording and session work. He is currently Associate Principal Double Bass with Orchestra Victoria.
As a composer and arranger, Dennis has a particular interest in theatre works, and most of his compositions and arrangements involve musical settings of text. His ability to produce works that are accessible to performers and audience has resulted in numerous commissions over the last twenty years from a diverse range of arts, community and educational institutions.
Recent works include Two Songs From Black Australia for oboe, harp, and soprano, an opera, The Tell-Tale Heart, which was premiered at the 2005 Castlemaine Festival and a string quartet (Seven interludes from the third stone), written for the 2005 Lyrebird Commission for the British Music Society.

Randolph Nesbitt, aged 47, poet/artist/photographer, mortgage broker by trade

What We Meant

to say
they have
for weapons
of mass destruction
the fax was blurry
and we could not
read that damn word
and even if
they didn’t have
we knew
they were
of making plans
we are now
in the process
of coming up with
our own plans
which will allow
us to detain anyone
thinking of making plans
at least now
we have established
our right
to attack
any country
which thinks up plans
our plans