Composers: Brendan Colbert, Scott McIntyre, Don Kay, Elliott Gyger, Elizabeth Drake, Martin Friedel, Brendan Collins
Compositions: Music for Piano
Performers: Michael Kieran Harvey p
Catalogue Number: MOVE MD3438

Michael Kieran Harvey is renowned for his formidable technique and championing of contemporary compositions that explore the piano’s sonic possibilities. Both are evident in Dancing to the Tremors of Time, a collection of new works for piano by seven Australian composers. Its title comes from the opening work by Brendan Colbert, commissioned by and dedicated to Harvey and named for a 2004 painting by Australian surrealist artist James Gleeson. Packing just under 30 minutes into a single, frenetic movement that reflects the painting’s nightmarish figures, Colbert’s piece is explosive, exhilarating and exhausting for both performer and listener.

Two piano sonatas follow: Scott McIntyre employs a loose four-movement form to structure what he describes as “pure music”, while Don Kay’s Sonata No 9 revolves around a narrative in which birdcall motifs figure prominently. Elliott Gyger transforms his father’s initials (D-E-G) into a meditative character study and Elizabeth Drake’s Rabbit Song achieves a dreamy transcendence through shifting repeated arpeggiations. Vanishing Point by Martin Friedel has beautifully Bach-like undertones unlike, ironically, the Prelude and Fugue by Brendan Collins which uses jazz forms within this musical structure.

An exciting snapshot of current Australian piano music performed with consummate authority.