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Garrick Ohlsson: View From the Summit – Moonlight and Magic

Essex PIano

Essex Upright, courtesy Theme & Variations, Australia distributors of Steinway & Sons Pianos

Art is a reflection of everyone’s reality and virtuosity in this day and age is in danger of becoming a cliché. With so many wonderful musicians and extraordinary musically inclined performing artists out there, it often seems just about impossible to focus on any one discipline in the performing arts any more. The bar has been raised high right across the board.

Traditionally I am going to date myself by saying I remember a time when many Australian homes had a piano in the living room. Well it certainly seemed that way to me as they were in all my friends homes in the run down post war Sydney neighbourhood I lived in. It was nothing to do with wealth, but everything to do with living a richly layered life.

Mostly upright pianos, they took up pride of place in a corner of the living room and you could count on it that someone in the household was a proficient. In ours my mother Rita spread the magic of music.


Garrick Ohlsson, photo by Paul Body

Phenomenal pianism are two words often used to describe the playing of American pianist Garrick Ohlsson (b. 1948), who learned his craft as a child from his piano teacher and then refined it at the esteemed Julliard School in New York City, before taking on the rest of the world.

Growing up post WWII, it was an era of optimism and promise. Winning the extraordinary difficult and very prestigious Chopin International Piano Competition in 1970 aged 22 was certainly extraordinary. Its degree of difficulty is renowned.

His success in this event held every five years, established Garrick Ohlsson as a musician ‘of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess’, or in short, a brilliant piano player.

He says “I went from being a promising young American pianist to someone who had almost arrived,” recalls Ohlsson. “And the invitations began pouring in” he remembers.


Stienway Grand B, courtesy Theme & Variations, Australia distributors of Steinway & Sons Pianos

“Among them, and most happily, was a cancellation at the New York Philharmonic in 1971.” Ohlsson said. Since that time Ohlssen has performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra many times over, returning for over a dozen tours of Poland and headlining in concerts on all the major concert stages of the world.

At the Melbourne Recital Centre on Wednesday 2nd September, 2015 in the Great Performers Concert Series Garrick Ohlssen performed Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 31 in A flat, Op.110 followed by Schubert’s Fantasy in C, Wanderer-fantasie, D.760 (Op.15) and Spanish composer Enrique Granados Goyescas: ‘Los requiebros’, ‘El fandango de candil’, ‘Quejas, ó la maja y el ruiseñor’, ‘El pelele: Escena Goyesca’, all to thunderous applause.

The audience, which seemed to be at least two thirds men much to my surprise, certainly appreciated his classical discipline, balance, restraint, stamina and precision, with the added bonus of bold ideas, pearls of poetic phrasing, noble drama and quiet greatness.

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2015 Sydney Antiques Fair – Rutherford & Fine Love Jewellery

Edwardian necklace, courtesy Rutherford, Collins Street, Melbourne

Rare Diamond and Seed Pearl Necklace, courtesy Rutherford, Collins Street, Melbourne

Costume during from the eighteenth through to the first decade of the 20th century fulfilled a function way beyond just utility. It was all about enhancing its wearer’s natural attributes.

If you added an artificial attraction such as jewellery to highlight a generous décolletage and combined it with a fragrance, you heightened that perception.

The source of inspiration for subjects for beautiful jewellery in England, Europe and America came out of their designers embracing an interest in the classical age and historical design.

Designed in the so called garland style popular during the English Edwardian era (1901 – 1914), Rutherford of Melbourne will offer a stunning necklace as a centrepiece for its exquisite array of fine antique love jewellery at the AA&ADA 2015 Sydney Antiques Fair 9 – 13 September.

James Docking of Rutherford in Melbourne, known for their rare and unique jewellery, pearls and antique silver explains

Detail Jewellery

Detail: Rare Diamond and Seed Pearl Necklace, courtesy Rutherford, Collins Street, Melbourne

‘… an impressive necklace of this quality does not come on to the market very often in Australia… it is quite a rare piece’.

Still showcased in its original box adding to the piece’s desirability, this gorgeous rare diamond and seed pearl necklace originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It is made in platinum and features a detachable double bow that can be worn as a pendant.

Symbolic also of the firm of Rutherford, whose expertise in jewellery antique and modern is much admired, the necklace’s design was inspired by a revival of interest in ancient Greece and Rome’s halcyon days. This was when motifs such as swags, tassels, wreaths, bows and sprays of flowers appeared on architecture and sculpture.

This stunning necklace would certainly prove a panacea for all ills, especially when adorning its wearer. Dancing with the Stars co-host Edwina Bartholomew must have thought so recently wearing it on the morning Sunrise program for Channel Seven.

Clear stones like diamonds symbolized elegance while pearls evoked ideas of innocence and integrity.

Edwardian Jewellery Selection Rutherford

Selection of Edwardian style jewellery, courtesy Rutherford, Collins Street, Melbourne

Set into motifs of the halcyon days transposed during the Edwardian age into the styles of neck ornaments in high vogue, they echo the meaningful sentiment expressed in the Song of Songs…

…You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace…*

Combined in a delicate gold setting in the age of elegance jewellery created with pearls and diamonds is a reminder today that by the first century jewellery from all around the Mediterranean overflowed with symbolism.

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