Composer Andrew Anderson’s album starts loosely in the spirit of Yann Tiersen or a relaxed Chopin; Ian Munro (piano) revealing a humble and curious dance. When Erica Kennedy (violin), Helen Ireland (viola) and Zoe Knighton (cello) enter, the mix presents thinner strings compared to the luscious piano. But the work itself, Piano Quartet in C Minor, envelops within its first minute. Movement I explores an abundance of moods, from melancholy to a pirate-like gigue in some parts. The contrasting second movement incorporates chromaticism – a different tension to the inviting Movement I. In Movement III, there is something old fashioned – not period music, but nostalgic, sophisticated and pure. Movement IV ends with a satisfying darkness.
Well-matched with the first work, the Violin Sonata is performed by Anna McMichael and Daniel de Borah. In Black Ink sees Brenna Wee on piano and Alexandra Mathew singing mezzo-soprano; no strings here. Shakespeare texts shape the three movements dedicated to and premiered by this very singer in 2016. Rather than using the natural rhythm of these sonnets, the composer works them into his own tale and forms a mellow ending.
As a whole, the album sounds overwhelmingly tonal. It’s a gentle entry point into contemporary classical music – and a fulfilling end point, too. This is the sort of album that makes one proud of Australian composition.
Composer: Andrew Anderson
Composition: Piano Quartet, Violin Sonata, In Black Ink
Performer: Various performers
Catalogue Number: iTunes, Amazon et al