Cabaret Festival Review: Composers in Exile: Peter Coleman-Wright and Nexus

A musical performance that is also a history lesson, taking us back through the years of the Weimar and the exodus of Jews from Germany.

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Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 15 June 2017

This was a musical performance that was also a history lesson, taking us back through the years of the Weimar and the exodus of Jews from Germany. Peter Coleman-Wright and the members of Nexus told of the individual stories of composers like Hans Eisler, Kurt Weill, Robert Stolz, Franz Schreker and Erich Wolfgang Korngold: their difficulties, their music and the need for many to go into exile.

Setting the scene well, the performance began with propaganda songs (Song of the Free), in German, and items like the Song of the Miners and Song of the Cotton Pickers and Eisler’s Benefit Stamp Song emphasising how bad thing were, leading to his Greetings to Brandenburg, a melancholy tribute to his home, written in exile.

These led on to many romantic ballads and love songs. For those of us not fluent in German the explanations by the musicians were very welcome and the music was beautiful. Nexus comprises of four individual award winning saxophone players, Michael Duke (soprano sax), Andrew Smith (alto sax) Nathan Henshaw (tenor sax), Jay Byrnes (baritone sax) and together they sound fantastic. Their skill and harmony was even more evident in the later numbers, September Song (Knickerboker Holiday-Weill) and Mack the Knife (Threepenny Opera-Weill), both of which were sung in German and English.

Throughout, Helpman award winner Coleman-Wright’s strong clear voice carried every song. He sang with much expression and feeling making the songs and their surroundings come alive. Whilst the different language may dissuade some people this unusual cabaret piece is worth a listen.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

4/5

Venue: Dunstan Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season:  15-16 June 2017
Duration: 60min
Tickets: Adult $49.90 Conc $39.90
Bookings: https://secure.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/ticketing/

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