Artistic Director, Miranda Hill. Midsumma Festival. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton. 27 – 28 January 2023.

The return of Homophonic! in full swing is a sheer delight. The celebration and promotion of queer music and composers has been a long-time quest brought forward by Miranda Hill. The Consort of Melbourne, led by Steven Hodgson, work in collaboration with Hill to produce an outstanding program of original music and performances. The overall effect is a combination of the sweetest melodies, bright impish tunes as well as other more introverted and reflective pieces. The vocals are heavenly, and the instruments come to life, often in conversation with one another and frequently producing an exuberant play between sound and music.

The show opens with Sally Whitwell’s 2021 composition, Lockdown Alphabet. The piece reflects on range of lockdown emotions and activities (or inactivities) in alphabetical order. It is a great and humorous way to purge some of the trauma associated with the early stages of the pandemic. This piece dominates the first part the performance and the humour inherent in the lyrics helps to set the tone for the evening. As usual, Hill’s magisterial role as MC is insightful and informative. Her fascinating commentary provides truly interesting information about the pieces and the composers and helps to enhance the appreciation of the music.

Some of the pieces are commissioned especially for Homophonic or produced as part of the RESPECT projectSwerve (2021) by Meta Cohen and text by Leona Cohen addresses the difficult road of coming out as queer and Blurry Line (2022) by Alex Temple sees instruments and sounds almost competing with each other. The show ends with the incredibly upbeat Blown Away (2022) by Andrew Aronowicz, a composition about a storm that is presented in the format of a sea shanty. The show is mainly about acknowledgement and celebration of queer identity and the presence and contribution of queer musicians and composers. The love in the room is unequivocal and the result is pure harmony.

Patricia Di Risio

Violins: Cameron Jamieson, Natasha Conrau. Viola: Phoebe Green. Cello: Campbell Banks. Double Bass: Miranda Hill. Oboe: Ben Opie. Clarinets: Karen Heath. Flutes: Kim Tan.

Consort of Melbourne: Katherine Norman, Kristy Biber, Alex Ritter, Robin Parkin, Ben Owen, & Steven Hodgson.

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.