"AUTUMN RHAPSODY" JADCD 1096
Works by: Geoffrey Allen, Robert Allworth, Eric Gross, Derek Strahan. Duration: 60'17"
Summary: "After The Rapture", Allen's 20-minute Suite for piano solo (2001) offers four contrasting movements written in reflective and elegant style, and which were composed while Allen (a publisher) was engaged in preparing a complete edition of the works of Australian composer Roy Agnew. The work is dedicated to Agnew's sister, Marjorie. Five movements follow from Allen's extensive work "Diversions" (1994) for oboe, clarinet & bassoon further reveal the composer's gift for melody and aptitude for counterpoint.
Three works for solo piano complete the CD. Allworth's "Autumn Reverie", played by David Miller, comprises five preludes in elegiac mood: Mosaics - Yellow - Gold - Grey - Green. "Pensive Prelude", composed & played by Gross, is a gentle, evocative piece requiring thoughtful use of the sustaining pedal.
In contrast, Strahan's "Atlantis Variations, Part 3" employs the resources of the piano to depict an asteroid strike on the Earth in 8,500 BC which terminated the Quaternary Age, brought on the Great Flood, and may have caused the sinking of Atlantis. This is one of several works developing material for a proposed 4-opera cycle on Atlantis.
Track list: - with more details about each piece and the performances.
(A biographical note on Geoffrey Allen follows after the track list)
Suite for Piano - After The Rapture (2001) by GEOFFREY ALLEN (b. 1927)
Tracks 1,2: Clear Blue Skies / An Autumn Rhapsody. Joy Lee, piano.
Track 3,4: A Walking Tune / After The Rapture. Edward Neeman, piano
Composer's note: "Between 1997 and 2001 I was considerably occupied with the preparation and printing of a new and complete edition of the piano music of Roy Agnew, for which (Australian composer) Larry Sitsky acted as editor. In the early days of this project, and through correspondence with the music archivist at the Mitchell Library in Sydney, I learned that Agnew's youngest sister, Marjorie, was still alive and well. I made contact with her, and later in company with Dr. Rita Crews, met her in person ... and she provided us with some personal background to Roy Agnew and his compositional activities.
It was therefore with great regret that, before I could produce a published version of After the Rapture for presentation to Marjorie, l learned of her quite sudden passing. She never knew that I had written this music for her as I was keeping it as a surprise. Nevertheless I may hope that it will stand as one small tribute to her, and that her family may enjoy it and the memories it may bring.
Track 5 - Diversions (1994) by GEOFFREY ALLEN (b. 1927)
Jay Harrison - Oboe; Jack Harrison, Clarinet; Jill Mowson, Bassoon.
Recorded live in concert at the West Australian Conservatorium of Music 10/4/94.
Diversions Op. 24 comprises twenty short movements; they were written between 1992 & 1994. Interpreters of this piece may select as few or as many of the movements as they wish, presenting them in whatever order they consider to be appropriate. For this recording, movements 4, 6, to, 11 & 12 were chosen. (played in this order).
Track 6 - An Autumn Reverie (I972) by ROBERT ALLWORTH (b.1943)
David Miller, piano.
An Autumn Reverie is a series of five preludes composed in 1972 - Mosaics - Yellow - Gold - Grey - Green. These colour preludes were revised in 1990 and placed together in this new recording in 1991 (in Studios 301, Sydney). The revised five colour preludes now placed together, comprise An Autumn Reverie.
Track 7- Pensive Prelude (1996) by ERIC CROSS (b.1926)
Eric Gross, piano (Studio 301, Sydney).
Pensive Prelude is a gentle, evocative piano solo requiring thoughtful use of the sustaining pedal of the piano.
Tracks 8,9,10 & 11 - Atlantis Variations for Solo Piano - PART 3 (1992) by DEREK STRAHAN (b. l935) Derek Strahan, piano. Digital recording, new Music Theatre 2002.
Composer's note: Composed in 1992, Atlantis Variations for Solo Piano is one of several works written to develop material for inclusion in a proposed cycle of 4 operas on the topic of antediluvian civilisations. In Part 3, featured here, I seek musical means to portray the cataclysm which is thought to have terminated the Quaternary Age and is referred to in the mythologies of many cultures as the Flood. Many scenarios have been advanced to explain this global event. I have elected to follow that suggested by physicist, engineer, inventor and rocket scientist Otto Heinrich Muck in his work "The Secret Of Atlantis" (1978)
CELESTIAL BODIES -THE GOLDEN AGE:- Musical themes are heard denoting Sun, Venus, Moon and Earth, followed by The Golden Age, denoting Atlantean civilisation at its height. These themes (and motifs for Poseidon, his consort, Cleito, and Atlas) are employed as building blocks in constructing the following narrative:-
CONJUNCTION - APPROACH OF THE INTRUDER:- On June 5, 8498 B.C. a triple conjunction occurs of Venus, Moon & Earth which causes an Asteroid of the Adonis Group to be diverted from its orbit shortly after reaching its perihelion (closest point to the Sun). In two minutes actual time, it is drawn into the Earth's atmosphere, shatters and scourges the Earth with its debris.
IMPACT - DELUGE:- The Asteroid splits into two monstrous boulders, kilometres wide, which plunge into the ocean in the (now) Gulf of Mexico and penetrate the earth's crust leaving a (still existing) scar of two abyssal holes in the ocean floor. Huge tidal waves deluge surrounding land masses.
THE END OF AN AGE:- Red-hot magma pours from severed rifts in the Atlantic Ocean. The earth tilts on its axis. The poles move. The seas rise. There is worldwide volcanic activity. The planet experiences climatic change. We are survivors of survivors.
"Atlantis" Program Notes Copyright O 2002 Derek Strahan
*Atlantis Variations Pt. 2 may be heard on "An Australian Festival': JADCD 1095, and other "Atlantis" works on Jade CDs "Voodoo Fi re" (JADCD 1063), "Eden In Atlantis" (JADCD 1074). An adaption of the libretto for "Eden In Atlantis" can be heard on the spoken word CD "Past Life Recall" RDS005. These CDs are available at CD Baby. These CDs are available at CD Baby.
"Atlantis" Program Notes Copyright O 2002 Derek Strahan.
GEOFFREY ALLEN - BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Geoffrey Allen was born in England on June 6th 1927 and grew up in Brentwood, Essex. His parents were not particularly musical, although they owned a piano which his mother played occasionally. He had piano lessons from the age of six until he was eighteen, and in his mid-teens he developed a strong passion for music, including an urge to compose. However, suggestions that he follow musical studies when he was about to complete his schooling were strongly discouraged, and finally he went up to Oxford in 1945 to read chemistry, and after break of two years for military service, geography, in which latter subject he graduated in 1951. At the end of that year he was married, and immediately made plans to emigrate to Australia arriving in Sydney in February 1952.
A brief stint of teaching at Trinity Grammar, which he found to be an uncongeniaI occupation led to him joining the staff of the Public (now State) Library of NSW in late 1953, and to the commencement of his career as a librarian. This took him to work for the CSIRO, and then to the University of Western Australia in 1961, from where, in 1967, he moved to be the foundation librarian of W.A.I.T, which became Curtin University in 1987. He retired from the University in 1992.
As a composer he is entirely self taught through the processes of Iistening, looking, at scores and experimenting. His first compositions to have been retained were four songs written while still a student, and first performed at the Oxford University Music Society in 1950. After moving to Sydney he had limited opportunities for composing until his mother decided to send him her piano. He then wrote some works for recorders, more songs, and a sonata for bassoon during the 1960s. But then his new library commitments, and a growing family took over, and the creative musical energy lapsed - until the late 1980s when perhaps the prospect of retirement created a need to refocus, and musical ideas started to foment in his mind.
Following a visit to France and Spain in 1989 during which his first grandchild was born in Perth, he wrote his Child's Play suite and the Piano Sonata No. 2 (Sonata Espanola), and other works followed rapidly. In 1990 he established the Key Press through which he has published most of his own music and some 200 works by other Australian composers. His output has now reached his opus 47,and includes nine piano sonatas, some fifty other piano pieces, over twenty songs and a number of solo and chamber works for Woodwinds, recorders and strings. At seventy-five he remains active and has a number of new works in hand or planned.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Clear Blue Skies
2. An Autumn Rhapsody
3. A Walking Tune
4. After The Rapture
6. An Autumn Reverie
7. Pensive Prelude
8. Atlantis Variations #3: Celestial Bodies
9. Atlantis Variations #3: Conjunction
10. Atlantis Variations #3: Impact - Deluge
11. Atlantis Variations #3: The End Of An Age