From 2011 to 2015, the Australian National Academy of Music and the Melbourne Recital Centre presented the Australian Voices concert series, celebrating significant Australian composers. Included was a programme of chamber works by Stuart Greenbaum (b. 1966). This recording, released on ANAM’s own imprint, features seven Academy musicians with harpist and ANAM alumna Jessica Fotinos, performing three works by Greenbaum in which harp plays a central role. Mondrian Interiors is a collection of eight pieces inspired by an exhibition of works by the Dutch artist, with works scored for combinations of oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, piano and harp.
Four Finalities is a song cycle written in collaboration with poet Ross Baglin and performed by mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean. The delicate interplay between Betts-Dean’s forcefully ethereal voice and the harp is utterly captivating, enhanced by a rich and spacious recording sonic. Finally, Nine Candles for Dark Nights is solo harp piece written for Australian harpist Marshall McGuire that explores and expands the sonic capacities of this instrument.
This is a tremendously accessible collection of works that balances the obvious beauty of the harp with subtly nuanced complementary sonorities. The performances are fresh and exciting, and it’s to be hoped that we’ll see many more recordings on the ANAM label by young musicians of this calibre.