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News Archive

January, 2010

In this issue our news editor, Terry Irwin welcomes in the New Year and:

  • Has a quick look at the history of a medieval composer whose works will be presented at the Festival, Hildegard von Bingen; more»
  • Gives us a reason to watch spaghetti western reruns on late night television; more»
  • Introduces us (especially all our budding thespians in the audience) to a multi—talented classical guitarist; more»
  • And his usual round up of bits, pieces and hints to enable you to maximise your enjoyment at the Festival. more»

Early Tickets Close 5th February

early bird tickets

Time is running out to save up to 17% on your Festival Tickets. You only have until the 5th of February to purchase your Early Bird tickets. With your Early Bird ticket you will not only save money, but you will not have to queue at the gate waiting as you will be in the express lane and move right through. But wait, there's more. Sorry no steak knives, but in the case of rain (which has only happened once in the past 16 Festivals) you will be guaranteed a place in the alternative indoor concerts that will take place in the Bermagui Hall.

And because you want to maximise your time enjoying the atmosphere of our wonderful site, why not pre-order your lunch as well. Just click here.

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Why Haven't I Received My Tickets Yet?

freak out

Panic not! Well, you should be more concerned if you have received your tickets as they have not been posted out yet. If you ordered from our web site, you should have received an email to confirm your order. If you replied by mail order, you can be sure that your order was received if your cheque account shows the amount debited or if your credit card statement has been charged. To try to reign in spiralling costs (remember we are a not for profit) we will be posting out all tickets in a single mailing on March 1st. Tickets purchased after this date will continue to be mailed out until Wednesday 24th March. You can be assured that if any event is sold out, you will be notified immediately before that date. Be patient, please, but if you did not receive confirmation or you appropriate statement has not been debited, contact

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Hildegard of Bingen

Inspiring poster
Hildegard von Bingen

One of the things that I love about the Four Winds is the chance to discover more about familiar music. Genevieve Lacey, our artistic director, will be taking us on a musical journey through time, from early music right through to contemporary sounds. As we will start our journey through Western music with Gregorian chant, I brushed up a bit on this fascinating woman, Hildegard von Bingen.

Perhaps the earliest composer known in Western music, Hildegard was born the 10th child of a noble family at the end of the 11th Century. At a time when women rarely were accorded great respect, Hildegard led her own order of nuns who shunned bland clothing. She was very upmarket, worldly and widely travelled. Hildegard was a mystic and healer who advised bishops, kings and Popes. She recorded her visions, and wrote about sexual relations from a women's point of view.

Hildegard was extremely creative, and the poetry and melody of her songs underscore her unique originality. She wrote the first musical drama (that survives) in history. Her music was in the plainchant style of church music of her time with just a single melodic line, but it was marked by strong emotions and soaring melodies. This extraordinary woman also wrote texts on healing, cosmology, and the natural sciences. I think you will be enchanted.

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The Spaghetti Western Orchestra

the spaghetti western orchestra
the spaghetti western orchestra

As a musical aesthete, remember my attempt to educate readers in the last newsletter about how to bluff your way in the world of the viola da gamba, I feel it my duty to help Festival goers come to a better understanding of the Spaghetti Western Orchestra as we are treated to a re-invention of a live radio broadcast (don't forget that ABC FM is recording this year's Festival).

Now I don't want my fellow cognoscenti to turn up their noses because they have little knowledge of key American westerns of the 60s and 70s just think of this music as Wagner meets Taik Oz and Synergy with a bit of American and Italian culture and humour added in.

This group is guaranteed to make you chuckle, and you will never be able to watch a late night Western rerun again without thinking of Four Winds.

Here are a few notes to guide your understanding.

  • Spaghetti Western: originally low budget productions in Italian that sometimes mocked the conventions of early American Westerns and sometimes misunderstood (don't we all) American mores as portrayed by Hollywood. Usually five or six people get killed off by the lone stranger in town and that is just in the first reel.
  • Sergio Leone: was a legendary Italian film director/ producer/ screenwriter who made his name by mixing extreme close-up shots with long shots in his renowned spaghetti westerns such as: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, etc. His stars included Clint Eastwood, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale.
  • Ennio Morricone: the classically trained and accomplished composer who has written scores for more than 500 television and film productions.
  • Bob Robertson: the name used by Sergio Leone when his movies were released in the United States. Odd that isn't it?
  • Extra trivia marks to the reader who know which ABC radio sport show uses the theme from the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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When Muso Meets Playwright

karin Schaupp
karin Schaupp

If you are one of the poor unfortunates that can only come on one day of the Festival owing to other commitments, you are in for a tough choice. One of the highlights on Saturday will be Karin Schaupp playing the Guitar as a soloist and with Marshall McGuire on the Harp.

Now my knowledge of the classical harp is only second to my acknowledged expertise regarding the viola de gamba, so I will have to leave that one until a later newsletter. However, I do know we are in for a treat with the fascinating Karin Schaupp.

Not only is she recognized as being part of the Aria winning group Saffire (Gareth Koch, Karin Schaupp, Slava Grigoryan and Leonard Grigoryan), who just happen to be Australia's highest selling classical group, but she also has had a play specifically written for her by David Williamson. How's that you ask? Well it seems that Karen is interested in acting and in fact trained at NIDA. David Williamson wrote, Lotte's Gift, specifically for Karen to both act and perform with her guitar. This one woman play, that covers three generations of Karin's family, was so popular that it was taken to the Edinburgh Festival last year. The Sydney Morning Herald said, “Intimate and moving theatre…exceptionally beautiful” while the Sunday Telegraph said, “A true, heart warming and often hilarious story”.

When you meet Karin ask her to tell you the story behind the play — its fascinating. She is an marvellous talent. The Canberra Times succinctly summed up this amazing guitarist, “Move over John Williams.

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Et Cetera, Et Cetera (a roundup of bits and pieces)

wicked witch

Hooray, Hooray, fellow Munchkins of Four Winds world as the dreaded vouchers are gone. So now fellow Munchkins join me in singing as we dance up from the amphitheatre… ding-dong the queue is dead, which old queue, the voucher queue, ding dong the wretched queue is dead. Well done Munchkins! No longer will you have to purchase vouchers to pay for your oysters, coffee and a glass of wine. Cash rules! Well credit cards can be used too, but that might be a bit slower.

You may remember that some of the Four Winds family are keen skiers. Well, one of our highlighted groups, the Black Arm Band, will be featured during the winter Olympics in Vancouver. I hope they remember to take their woollies because it may be a bit of weather shock after they performed on the opening night of the Sydney Festival.

If you were not able to attend last year's FW Music Club, and missed artistic director, Genevieve Lacey, talking about how she conceived and put together this Easter's extravaganza, you can listen to a podcast of her talk. This wizardry is thanks to our communications director/guru, Marilyn Chalkley. Just click here or paste this link into your web browser:

With only 12 weeks to go before the Festival, you can imagine the Four Winds Board and volunteers are starting to panic. But what should you be doing? Buy your Early bird tickets at a discount before 5 February and get your tickets to the Saturday Night Feast or Eavesdropping before they sell out. Now once again let's practice before Jonathon Welch arrives… ding-dong the queue is dead

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