The most exciting experiences I have as a composer are the chances to collaborate with and write for a particular performer. Each performer brings their own unique style and influence into the composition process leading to a piece that represents the overlap between the composer’s and performer’s aesthetics and musical language.
This month, I’ve tried to exhibit these collaborations with a series of solo works or works that feature soloists. Most notably, the six cello pieces that open the playlist highlight this variety. From Sarah Hopkin’s Reclaiming the Spirit, to Mary Finsterer’s Tract, to Harry Sdraulig’s Fantasia on Waltzing Matilda for the inimitable Yo-Yo Ma – each work shows have versatile these collaborations can be.
Cellos aren’t our only featured soloists however, we have music featuring flute, violin, clarinets, shakuhachi, saxophone, marimba, piano, harpsichord and even toy piano (Erik Griswold’s Chooks!). We also have a quartet of vocal pieces by Roger Smalley, Larry Sitsky, Kevin March and Lisa Illean each showcasing very different take of text setting (and selection) in addition to each singer’s unique voice.
While we’re on this comparing spree, we have two string quartets, one a recent release Flash Point by Holly Harrison for Riley Lee (shakuhachi) and the Enigma Quartet followed by Nigel Butterley’s first string quartet, performed by the Kreutzer Quartet. The urgency and energy of Harrison’s music dissolving into the meditative introspection of the Butterley is a truly wonderful transition.
Rounding out this month’s playlist are some expansive jazz and electronic works, Thomas Meadowcroft’s Cradles plays amazingly with sonic foreground and background, while To the Invisible by the Alister Spence Trio and Ed Kuepper creates excellent textural waves of sound and Sandy Evans and Andrea Keller’s Indigo Hues likewise has tides and swells of music passed between them.
As discussed last month, I’ll be adding a Merch Table link to each playlist. If any of the playlist’s tracks are also available for purchase on Bandcamp, Merch Table will direct you there.
Feel free to start off your 2021 with some sonic explorations of the Aussie Art Music playlist on Spotify or the full Australian Art Music Archive (now up to 60 hours!) and Archive Merch Table link. And don’t forget, each composer and performer has their own back catalogue to discover as well.
Until next month,
The Full Track List: Australian Art Music, January 2021
Tract for Solo Cello by Mary Finsterer | performed by Christopher Pidcock
Fantasia on Waltzing Matilda by Harry Sdraulig | performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott
Reclaiming the Spirit (Solo Cello Version) by Sarah Hopkins
Nocturne for solo cello by Mary Mageau | performed by Peet Morrison
Mercurial for Solo Cello by Alex Pozniak | performed by Christopher Pidcock
O Traurigkeit by Ian Munro | performed by Sue-Ellen Paulsen, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Brett Kelly
Ophelia’s Dance by Belinda Woods | performed by Lo-Res
It Comes and Goes by Catherine Likhuta | performed by Western Brass Quintet
Flash Point by Holly Harrison | performed by Riley Lee, Enigma Quartet
String Quartet No. 1 by Nigel Butterley | performed by Kreutzer Quartet
Poly by Rae Howell | performed by Sunwrae
Water Crossing by Nadje Noordhuis | performed by Nadje Noordhuis
Chooks! by Erik Griswold | performed by Claire Edwardes
Murrundindi River (for solo harpsichord) by Dindy Vaughan | performed by Peter Hagen
To the Invisible by Alister Spence Trio & Ed Kuepper
The Lion by Monique diMattina
Nocturne for Piano by Dulcie Holland | performed by Jeanell Carrigan
Chroma by Samantha Wolf | performed by Alex Raineri
9 Lives (A Song Cycle About Cats): No. 9 Observe the Cat upon This Page by Roger Smalley | performed by Taryn Fiebig, Scott Davie
Song Of The Night by Larry Sitsky | performed by Halcyon (Jenny Duck-Chong, Vivien Jeffrey, Geoffrey Gartner, Clemens Leske, William Jackson)
Mythweaver: No. 2 The Moon Has Set by Kevin March | performed by Wendy Dixon & David Miller
A Through-Grown Earth by Lisa Illean | performed by Juliet Fraser – Flash by Matthew Hindson | performed by Claire Edwardes
NRG by Gerard Brophy | performed by Henri Bok
Yanada by Ross Edwards | performed by Amy Dickson & William Barton
Humming Cups by Damien Ricketson | performed by Ensemble Offspring (Jason Noble)
Cloudy Mountain for Flute and Piano by Anne Boyd | performed by Derek Jones & Cameron Roberts
Cradles by Thomas Meadowcroft | performed by Speak Percussion
Three Duets: 3. Alchemy by Phillip Houghton | performed by Andrew Blanch & Ariel Nurhadi
Transfusion by Jon Rose
A Kiss Before the World’s End by Houston Dunleavy | performed by Orquesta Sinfonica de Heredia, Brett Deubner & Eddie Mora
Indigo Hues by Sandy Evans & Andrea Keller