Hush Live in Concert is the 14th in a series of albums released to calm and comfort families facing stressful medical procedures. It’s a compilation of Hush Foundation recordings selected by former ABC Classic FM presenter Emma Ayres. Composer/pianist Paul Grabowsky states in the notes: “music has its roots in healing, dreaming, and story-telling”. Opening with two of his jazzy Ten Healing Songs, it becomes apparent from the outset that this is anything but the conventionally soothing Debussy for Daydreaming or Relaxation Made Easy style album.
Andrea Keller’s A Castle for All is oddly uplifting as it cycles repetitively through the same series of chords. Brass, wind, and percussion instruments appear to improvise around Keller’s piano, and while it has plenty of musical tension, the overall feel is not a dark one. Tony Gould’s Gentle Conversations is as it sounds – a smattering of percussion, a gentle pulse, and a layering of instruments simulate just that.
Though magnificently portrayed by the Grigoryan brothers, Songs with Strings is perhaps a touch too intense and emotionally confronting for an album attempting to reduce stress. Mark Isaacs’ romantic and visually evocative The Wind in the Willows is more fitting; one can just imagine a little bushland animal from the tooting of Geoff Collins’ flute. This childlike journey continues through Paul Stanhope’s tinkling The Magic Island, performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and one may bathe in the vast string lines of Brenton Broadstock’s In the Sunshine. This release is part of a terrific cause but is worth a listen through any stage of life.