It is 4pm on a sunny, Saturday afternoon at the Rose Room, Burradoo in the Southern Highlands of NSW. The room is an annex of a private house owned by Janet Ninio whose vision is “intimate music for everyone”. As I sit and relax in pre-concert silence, I notice that the neutral tones of the straw washed walls and bamboo floors blend beautifully with the outside view of native grass and eucalypts.
It is an apt backdrop for the reason we are here; to listen to the poetry of the great Australian poet, Rosemary Dobson read by Leonie Cambage and accompanied by Shaun Ng on viola da gamba and lute and Diana Weston on harpsichord. The performers are classically dressed in black, adding a formality to the occasion.
Today Janet Ninio has achieved her goal. It is an exquisite, intimate hour of sounds and images representing themes ranging from Greek mythology to nostalgic Australian landscapes, of bush-land, rivers and even trams. We are fortunate to be joined by Rosemary Dobson’s son, Ian Bolton who has traveled with his wife from New Zealand especially and previously provided insight for the show. I feel very blessed indeed.
Here are two verses of my favourite poem.
Wanting to be myself alone
between the lit house and the town
I took the road and at the bridge
Turned back and walked the way I’d come
And walking up and down the road
I knew myself separate and alone
Cut off from human cries, from pain,
And love that grows about the bone