Composers: Charlton, Houghton, Isaacs, Westlake
Compositions: Guitar music 
Performers: Timothy Kain g
Catalogue Number: Naxos 8573961

Yet again, we ask ourselves: is there such a thing as a uniquely Australian classical guitar music? And again, we rush to say, “Yes, of course there is!”. But is that only because we’re used to it and we know it’s Australian? It’s at least possible to say there are certain qualities shared by composers as diverse as those on this fine new recording by Canberra-based Timothy Kain AM. Colour. Timbre. Sonority. Harmonic richness. Melodiousness, even if it’s non-diatonic. A willingness to explore non-standard tunings and extended techniques. An engagement with landscape and people that is as much psychological as emotional.

Kain, a relentless commissioner of new works, who enjoys close working relationships with every important Australian composer, understands all this and more. This third release in Kain’s survey boasts world-premiere recordings or works the majority of which were written for him. There is Richard Charlton’s Sonata of Forgotten Dreams, a sonorous cri de coeur drawing on traditional forms and modern tunings and techniques.

Mark Isaac’s jazz-inflected Song for my Father and Five Bagatelles. Nigel Westlake’s moving, polychrome suite of landscapes, Mosstrooper Peak. Philip Houghton’s Goldfish Suite, which in his own words “brings colour, atmosphere and timing into sharp focus” And the playing? Auden’s Lullaby comes to mind: “Not a whisper, not a thought, Not a kiss nor look be lost.” Yes, it’s that good.