The most recent release by The Australian Voices is their first with current director Gordon Hamilton at the helm. As a composer, Hamilton is no stranger to eclecticism, and Reverie offers works that draw on classical, jazz and popular styles, with texts and subjects not limited to war, nonsense and political speech.
The most classical offering is Hamilton’s arrangement of Australian-British composer and soldier Frederick Septimus Kelly’s Elegy – In Memoriam Rupert Brooke. It complements other reflective works by Hamilton on the disk, including a sombre meditation on the ANZAC experience, Dark Hour and the radiant, existentialist Who Are We? Graham Lack’s Reverie of Bone, with percussion by Claire Edwardes, dwells in a similar space.
At odds with these more sober offerings are groove-driven works, like Lisa Young’s Misra Chappu and James Morrison’s Underwater Basket Weaving, a cute bluesy work featuring Morrison himself on trumpet. But top reason to own this disc is the diptych of politically themed works by Robert Davidson: Total Political Correctness, a musicalisation of the Trump-Kelly debate, and the viral internet sensation, Not Now, Not Ever! – Davidson’s reworking of Julia Gillard’s speech against misogyny.
Hamilton says the works each “embrace… the banal in equal measure with the transcendent”. Some admittedly tip closer towards banality, but the programme is a nice demonstration of what this group can do.