The Glad Tomorrow: Katie Noonan & Australian String Quartet
Woodville Town Hall, Saturday 2nd November 2019
(Reviewed by John Glennie)
Powerhouse Katie Noonan joined with the acclaimed Australian String Quartet for their new project ‘The Glad Tomorrow’.
The concert saw tracks from the album in which Katie set the uniquely Australian poetry of Queenslander and First Nations icon Oodgeroo Noonuccal to music, commissioning ten stellar Australian contemporary composers to create a song cycle based on Oodgeroo’s poetry. This brought together 4 distinct worlds – Contemporary Australian and Queensland Composers, the searing poetry of Oodgeroo, the Australian String Quartet and Katie Noonan’s unique voice and innate musicality.
This was the first time I have been to the Woodville Town Hall and I was extremely impressed – it is a beautiful hall (a marginally smaller version of Thebarton Theatre with a similar layout) with excellent acoustics. It is a real gem and an outstanding venue for live music, theatre, comedy, etc.
The show presented two sets comprising six songs in each – the last of the first set and start of the second set performed by the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) – who are Dale Barltrop and Francesca Hiew on violin, Stephen King on viola and Sharon Grigoryan on cello. They are incredible musicians and combine amazingly well.
The other 10 tracks were musical interpretations of Oodgeroo’s poems with Oodgeroo’s beautiful great-granddaughter, Kaleenah Edwards, reading each poem in their native Jandai language then performed by Katie and the ASQ. The music was mesmerising and quite haunting and really highlighted Katie’s incredible vocal range.
A great touch was to provide each patron with a printed copy of the running order which included the words (in English) of each poem. Congratulations to the Charles Sturt Council and Woodville Town Hall for a well-organised and memorable concert.