This third instalment of the ABC Classic series Women of Note: A Century of Australian Composers features over two hours of music by a mix of established and emerging composers. From the opening bars, it is immediately clear that the impeccable standard of the preceding volumes has been maintained.
Most of the 17 works featured are for small ensembles but Peggy Glanville-Hicks’ Sinfonia Da Pacifica and The Witching Hour (Concerto for Eight Double Basses) by Elena Kats-Chernin are notable and monumental exceptions. Many also share a preoccupation with various aspects of nature: earth, sky, oceans, and, continuing a long tradition in Western classical music, birds and their songs. Cockatoos and lorikeets have provided inspiration for Hilary Kleinig and Fiona Loader respectively; Jessica Wells has built a dramatic work around the Night Parrot and a spine-tingling movement from Emma Jayakumar’s Bell Birds suite is a particular highlight.
Others include Caerwen Martin’s Stars Come Out in a Midnight Sky, a quietly perfect evocation of lights twinkling in an infinite cosmos. Natalie Williams’ questioning, unsettling Songs of Silent Earth is performed with dark nuance by the Muses Trio, an ensemble dedicated to championing works by female composers.
Wind highlights (bass clarinet) include People of this Place by Felicity Wilcox, Nardi Simpson’s Of Stars and Birds and Liza Lim’s mesmerising, overtone-laden Weaver of Fictions for solo recorder featuring Genevieve Lacey.
Powerful, sympathetic performances by the Muses Trio, Ensemble Offspring, the ACO Collective and others bring these works vividly to life and are complemented by a high-quality recording.
Listen on Apple Music.
Composer: Anne Cawrse, Fiona Loader, Elena Kats-Chernin, Caerwen Martin, Natalie Williams, Hilary Kleinig, Jessica Wells, Felicity Wilcox, Emma Jayakumar, Nardi Simpson, Liza Lim
Works: Various works
Performers: Ensemble Offspring, Muses Trio, ACO Collective, Riley Lee, Genevieve Lacey et al.
Label: ABC CLASSIC 4855858