Brisbane-based Brieley Cutting returned from a Churchill Fellowship in May 2014. This included stays in the UK, The Netherlands and the United States. Here, she fills us in on some of the recordings she found on her travels.
19 May 2014: They say there are two types of travellers – those that travel light, and those that wish that they had. Courtesy of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, I recently spent some time overseas and I left Australia not with a small amount of luggage I admit, but a reasonable amount. I could walk to the check-in desk at Brisbane airport with a certain amount of decorum, enough so I could pretend like I had everything under
control. I felt fresh and almost a bit classy
Fast forward 6 weeks, and there I am stumbling into JFK International with a bag fit to explode, a recently purchased enlarged carry-on bag and somewhat extra baggage around my mid-section. The weather was close to 30 degrees in New York, and I had unfortunately only packed clothes for weather of 9-15 degrees. ‘Decorum’ was a past memory as I heaved my swollen luggage into the airport and then waited, sweating, for over an hour to get through the security.
Then we have a crystal clear and shiny morning in Brisbane, fitted out with a distant rainbow surrounded by some soft, feather grey clouds after a recent, friendly shower of rain…and me. There I was, 36 hours since I last slept, eyes slightly wild after 20 hours on an aircraft, sporting clothes that had been washed in a hotel basin in shampoo and then infected with stale airline air, my nose snivelling, warning me of the obligatory cold one gains from travelling cattle class. There I was, a blight against the crisp early morning, awkwardly manhandling my obese luggage into a cab, envying those who travelled light and were concurrently skipping out of the airport with some elegant luggage in tow.
A large reason for my luggage expansion was the acquisition of eleven CDs during my travels. Upon leaving a concert or venue, I couldn’t stop myself from picking up a disc on the way into the concert or on the way to the exit. I discovered that it was my favourite way to buy a CD. Energised by the concert I was to see or just saw, and usually with a wine in my belly, I would reach for my money and saunter away with a souvenir of the evening.
I picked up a newly released recording of Mozart’s Requiem from The Choir of King’s College Cambridge which I found after stepping out of King’s College Chapel having had a tour of the grounds and a pub fish and chips. I have a live recording of pianist Imogen Cooper at Wigmore Hall, and a brand new release of arrangements of two Beethoven Symphonies played on historical instruments by the Van Swieten Society which I picked up at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. Then there is a disc from the new music performers, the Mivos Quartet. This I purchased at a Ear Heart Music concert at Roulette in Brooklyn. Silver Threads I picked up from the concert of the same name at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, a venue who’s mission is to “revive the symbiotic relationship between art and revelry; to establish a creative asylum for both artists and audiences.” This album contains a contemporary classical song cycle for voice and track by Jacob Cooper. Then I couldn’t resist acquiring a solo piano jazz disc, Fred Hersch Plays Jobim, at Jazz Standard in Manhattan after enjoying a lovely hour of music from the same revered jazz pianist featuring on the disc.
Then, disaster struck. I discovered The Met Opera Shop. Normally this would not pose a danger for me, not being a rabid opera fan. However, I had recently been awestruck and overwhelmed by a stunning performance of La traviata with all the trimmings at the Royal Opera in London. Perhaps the Day and Night Nurse for Cold meds fog I was in that evening and my perpetually running eyes helped me to relate in some way to the consumptive Violetta. Perhaps it was the first class seating (just don’t ask me the price). Whatever the reason, I was effected profoundly by my evening at Covent Garden. And two weeks later I found myself at The Met Opera Shop in New York. I just had to have highlights from Figaro with Harnoncourt/Netrebko/ D’Arcangelo as well as the 1991 Metropolitan Opera production. I also had to have Cosi fan tutte recorded at the Royal Opera House – after all, that was the opera I had tickets for that evening. I also had to, of course, have Deutsche Grammophon’s La traviata with Netrebko/Villazon/Hampson… I did find enough restraint to stop at this point.
So here I am. Home again, having unpacked my embarrassingly corpulent luggage and now with only my jet lag, croissant induced fat roll and this selection of CDs before me as reminders of an amazing six weeks of discovery and learning. As I sit here in my quiet apartment in New Farm, there is only a frustrated wrestle with tight plastic film that separates me from accessing some brilliant music and not so distant memories…
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Brisbane pianist Brieley Cutting is Artistic Director and Manager of the innovative year-long music series DeClassified Music and her playing has been lauded for showing both a “myriad of different colours” (The Scoop, New Zealand) and “technical expertise” (The Age, Melbourne). Awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2013, Brieley has recently returned from travels taking her to London, Netherlands and New York.
Motivated by a significant interest in ensemble performance, Brieley is currently enrolled in doctoral studies at GriffithUniversity with supervisor Dr Stephen Emmerson, her research topic focusing on the pianist as a chamber musician.
Her current research output includes four studio recordings of chamber music with various musical colleagues: Flashpoint (Messiaen and Hindemith), I read the old dream slowly (Australian compositions), a self-titled album from Artico Ensemble, and an arrangement for four pianists of Mahler’s Symphony No.2.
Originally from rural Lismore, New South Wales, Brieley graduated at age 18 with first class honours from the Queensland Conservatorium, winning all the main performance prizes including the Brisbane Club Award. Postgraduate studies followed at the Australian National Academy of Music, Queensland Conservatorium and Royal College of Music in London. Her principal teachers have included Pamela Page, Oleg Stepanov, Timothy Young, Rita Reichmann, Natasha Vlassenko and Ruth Nye.
Brieley made her concerto debut in her final undergraduate year with the Queensland Conservatorium Orchestra with Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1, and has since been a concerto soloist with major Australian orchestras such as the Adelaide, Melbourne, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. Brieley has had success in many competitions, winning the keyboard section and David Paul Landa Scholarship in the 2006 ABC Young Performers Awards, was a winner in the ANAM concerto competition twice (2002 and 2005), and was awarded second place in the Kerikeri Piano Competition in New Zealand (2010). Brieley has also been awarded prestigious scholarships such as an Australian Music Foundation Award, a Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship and an Australian Postgraduate Award.
Brieley is currently the piano teacher at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, and is dedicated to taking professional and inspiring chamber music to small community venues in the Brisbane area with Artico Ensemble.