Contra Concerts is a newly formed Queensland chamber music ensemble that is making its series debut with intimate chamber recitals in heritage-listed venues in both Brisbane and Toowoomba. Presented in association with the Southern Cross Soloists, with whom flautist and curator, Jonathan Henderson, plays as flute soloist, this modest three-concert series features programs with works by Bach, Debussy and Beethoven respectively.

Jonathan Henderson, Tristan Coelho, Emily Granger and James Wannan. Photograph © Sbrana By Design

The Digital Debussy program centres around works for flute, viola and harp, based around Debussy’s celebrated 1915 Sonata for the trio of instruments. It includes Japanese composer Töru Takemitsu’s tantalising homage to the Debussy Sonata, And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind, written in 1992. Additionally, an intriguing 2021 world premiere by Sydney composer, Tristan Coelho, Hokusai Mixtape, drew inspiration from the former works, fusing a live electronic palette of sounds to work in harmony with the three instruments.

Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp is an exquisite montage of emotional sonority conjuring up dreamlike visual imagery and colours, that is both joyous and melancholic.  In the first Pastorale movement, the three instrumental voices interacted sublimely with each other...