"ECHOES FANTASIES" JADCD 1088
Works by: Robert Allworth, Lawrence Bartlett, Ann Carr-Boyd, Eric Gross, Dulcie Holland, Ian Shanahan, Derek Strahan. Duration: 66'37"
A collection of contrasts. Shanahan's "Echoes.Fantasies"(1984) for bass clarinet and percussion (vibraphone and bells) exploits extremes of tempo, beginning and ending in a lively and ecstatic manner. The slow and shimmering middle section evokes images of remote parts of Australia. Soloists are Nigel Westlake and Michael Askill. Shanahan also contributes an early synthesizer piece "SineBirds:FeralAbacus" and his own performance of "Five Etudes" for solo recorder. Allworth's "Movements For Mandolin & Piano" (1999) celebrates the Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Carr-Boyd's ever popular "Fandango" is heard here in a new arrangement made for The Sydney Mandolins.
Tenor David Hamilton, with composer Nigel Butterly on piano perform Holland's "Three Tree Songs" (1991) set to poems by Andrew Lansdown, and her "Ballad for Clarinet & Piano (1952) is heard in a remastered vintage recording featuring Clive Amadio and Olga Krasnik. "Suite For Trombone Quartet (1997) by Gross exploits the full resources of the instrument. Bartlett's "Jolly Octopus" recalls a "show and tell" scene at an Infants' School.
The CD concludes with Strahan's 15-minute "China Spring" (1989) for Cello & Piano, written to commemorate the "Tiananmen Square Massacre" of 4 June 1989, heard here in an incendiary premier performance given at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by Georg Pedersen, cello and David Miller, piano.
TRACK LIST AND MORE DETAILS:
Track 1- ECHOES/FANTASIES (1984)1 FOR BASS CLARINET AND PERCUSSION by IAN SHANAHAN (b.1962). Duration: 7'53". Performance by: Nigel Westlake- bass clarinet; Michael Askill - percussion, vibraphone and tubular bells.
(In addition to being a composer Ian Shanahan is a mathematician and a champion chess player.)
Composer's notes: "Echoes/Fantasies is my first piece in a series of compositions for woodwinds and percussion instruments. It falls into two contrasting sections, connected by a short linking passage The sections themselves are related only by tempo correspondences: an occasional melodic fragment, and six rhythmic permutations based upon the 'perfect number' 28 (of which three are used in each section). As the piece progresses, the complexity of the bass clarinet part develops considerably in a style somewhat akin to a free jazz improvisation!
This work exploits extremes of tempo and tension. Echoes/Fantasies begins (and ends) in a very lively and ecstatic manner, but winds down to a slow, distant and infinitely calm feel - intended to evoke images of certain lonely and remote parts of Australia. The hot, shimmering sounds of the vibraphone bring forth in my mind visions of Australian deserts, with mirages of rarefied air rising from their sands, whereas some of the cool bass clarinet sonorities (particularly the breath-sounds) remind me of gentle waves washing sand up onto some deserted beach.
Anyway. this halcyon state is maintained for a while, but is then imperceptibly transformed back into the original manner The title? It is a reference to earlier works, but also indicates the structural echoes and flights-of-fancy involved, as well as the general sound-world and potential extramusical associations of the piece."
Track 2 - SINEBIRDS: FERAL ABACUS (1981). FOR 'TAPE' by IAN SHANAHAN
Duration: 2'42". Composer's notes: " In late 1999, whilst rummaging through a cupboard, I came across a long forgotten-about tape dating from my early undergraduate student days, of a hitherto untitled, brief electronic study - a somewhat Varesian '50s-sounding exercise that consists almost entirely of sine tones subjected to spatial manipulation. It was, I vaguely recall, created over a period of about thirty minutes using a rather crackly old EMS Putney VCS3 analog synthesizer, a quaint contraption produced during the 1960s which is now well and truly a museum piece.
What would I name this electroacoustical trifle, having refamiliarized myself with it? On the one hand, the sound-world of the piece reminded me of a chorus of surrealistic but querulous bird-calls (hence SineBirds); yet at the same time, an image of a demented, out-of-control mechanical calculator inexplicably came into focus (so. "Feral Abacus"). SineBirds:Feral Abacus was realized in 1981 under the guidance of lan Fredericks at the Sydney University Experimental Sound Studio in the Music Department of the University of Sydney.
FIVE ETUDES (1988-1991). FOR SOLO RECORDER by IAN SHANAHAN
Performance: lan Shanahan -solo recorder. Duration: 4'05".
Track 3. Helical Ribbon (1990). A Terse etude for alto recorder
Track 4. Lingua Silens Florum (1991), A Garland for prepared alto recorder
Track 5. Cathy's Song (1988). An encore piece for soprano (or alto) recorder
Track 6. Dysfunctional Habanera (1990), for alto recorder
Track 7. Graeme Petrie, Scallywag (1990). for alto recorder
These five etudes are unique in my oeuvre: they are all deliberately straightforward being composed for adventurous young recorder players, and each concentrates upon a quite narrow technical region.
MOVEMENTS FOR MANDOLIN 7 PIANO (1999) by ROBERT ALLWORTH (b.1943). Duration: 4'23".
i. Moderate. ii. Mene mosso. iii Poco mene mosso. iv. Vivo.
Performance: Michael Hooper- mandolin; Danielle Perini, piano.
Composer's notes: This composition was completed on 15 August 1999 - the Feast Day of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary. It explores various rhythmic motives as well as the timbral possibilities of the mandolin (with piano accompaniment).
Track 9.1938): FANDANGO (1982) FOR 2 MANDOLINS, MANDOLA. GUITAR AND BASS GUITAR by ANN CARR-BOYD (b.1938). Duration: 4'55".
New version, arranged by Adrian Hooper for The Sydney Mandolins (1999). Performance: Adrian Hooper and Paul Hooper- mandolins; Joyce Bootsma - mandola ; Barbara Hooper, guitar; Michael Hooper - bass guitar. Fandango was commissioned by Adrian Hooper, director of The Sydney Mandolins; it is Carr-Boyd's second work for this group.
Track 10. BALLAD FOR CLARINET AND PIANO (1952) by DULCIE HOLLAND (b.1913). Performance: Clive Amadio, clarinet; Olga Krasnik, piano. Duration: 4'42".
Composer's note: " I wrote this one-movement Ballad especially for Clive Amadio. It is a ballad without words and listeners, should they so wish, could easily fit their own stories to its changing moods The music has a nautical flavour and the programme might simp y be that of the capricious sea: calm, turbulent, and at peace again.
THREE TREE SONGS (1991) FOR TENOR AND PIANO by DULCIE HOLLAND. PERFORMANCE: David Hamilton - tenor; Nigel Butterley, piano. Duration: 7'02".
These are settings of poems by Andrew Lansdown from his 1991 anthology,The Grasshopper Heart. The songs were performed at the Sydney Festival in January 1993, during a concert given in the composer's honour to mark her 80th birthday. The performers then were the same as those featured on this recording
Track 11. WILLOW
Track 12. TREE FERN
Track 13. PINES
SUITE FOR TROMBONE QUARTET. OP. 221 (1997) by ERIC GROSS (b.1926). Performers: Brendan Collins, WiII Farmer, Greg van der Struik and Damion Butler- trombones. Duration: 13'00".
This work was composed for the prominent Dutch trombonist Jeroen Drenth; it was recorded by the Trombones of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra during October 1998 The complete work comprises four separate movements, each of which may be performed as a separate entity. The composer endeavoured to utilize the sonorities and dynamic contrasts which can be created by an ensemble of outstanding trombonists wherein each voice is of equal importance.
Track 14. INTRODUCTION
Track 15. PHANTASY
Track 16. TROMBONE LULLABY
Track 17. TROMBONE FANFARE
Track 18. JOLLY OCTOPUS (1990) FOR SOLO PIANO by LAWRENCE BARTLETT. (1933-2002). Performance: Lawrence Bartlett - piano. Duration: 2'23".
Composer's note: "It was show and tell time at the local Infants' School, and a shy little girl produced an octopus preserved in a jar. I was so amused at this incongruous sight that I thought of an eight note theme to honour the legs of the defunct creature,and so the piece began. Lawrence Bartlett received an OAM in the January 2000 Honours list for his services to the Anglican Church
Track 19. CHINA SPRING (1989) FOR 'CELLO AND PIANO by DEREK STRAHAN (b.1935). Live recording of World Premiere Performance at Sydney Conservatorium: Georg Pedersen - 'cello; David Miller AM - piano. Duration: 15'32".
China Spring was commissioned by Georg Pedersen, with financial assistance from the Australia Council. It commemorates the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 4 June 1989, the title 'China Spring' being the name of an independent American Journal, copies of which I was given by Chinese students in Sydney.
On one level the work is a musical depiction of the events leading up to the incident. On another, it adapts a familiar device: the 'battle of anthems' to denote competing allegiances. Five themes are used, two original and three anthems: the Mao theme "The East is Red is set against L'lnternationale, which students sang in the Square to keep up their courage; and The star-spangled Banner strangely harmonised, is heard, epitomising the statue of Lady Liberty which students erected in the Square. This inflammatory Symbol of individual freedom was eventually toppled by a tank - an enduring media image.
In one passage in this work the three anthems are heard simultaneously, each in a different key. China Spring opens with an original jazzy theme, which may be taken as an evocation of youth. A second original theme emerges in counterpoint to L'Internationale but, as the work ends, it is heard standing alone - representing the eternal spring of hope. My thanks to Georg Pedersen and David Miller for applying the virtuosic talents to this piece, and for giving such an incendiary premiere performance, heard in this recording.
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2. SineBirds:Feral Abacus
3. Helical Ribbon
4. Lingua Silens Florum
5. Cathy's Song
6. Dysfunctional Habanera
7. Graeme Petrie, Scallywag
8. Movements for Mandolin & Piano
10. Ballad for Clarinet & Piano
12. Tree Fern
16. Trombone Lullaby
17. Trombone Fanfare
18. Jolly Octopus
19. China Spring