Listen to the Australian Art Music playlist: April 2022

Performance by Nonsemble by Chris Perren The great awakening from Practical mechanicsalthough an older work, captures many of the elements that I associate with Chris’s music: skillfully crafted texture, rhythmic impetus from phased and interlocking parts, unexpected changes and influences depths of contemporary music.

by Catherine Likhuta Top Predators, the title track from Lyrebird Brass’ latest album, has a wonderfully fierce relentlessness that I associate with Bartók and Godzilla movie soundtracks (perhaps an odd mix). It makes perfect use of the expressive abilities of brass instruments, using gesture as a garnish to decorate its overall structure.

Another recent version is Dare to love by Robert Davidson, interpreted by Matt Withers, a remarkably delicate and intimate work by the composer. Expertly written, the notes seem to flow from Withers like water, allowing the audience to focus on phrases rather than each individual gesture. Highly recommend listening to a cup of tea.

I’m a fan of a good pun, and Foran Policy by Sean Foran definitely ticks that box! However, it’s also a great piece of music, melancholy and engaging – the interplay between Kristin Berardi’s vocals and Rafael Karlen on sax is particularly pleasing.

Composer Corrina Bonshek, who won this year’s Queensland Music Award for classical music, is featured this month with a solo piano work she wrote for fellow Queenlander Alex Raineri. Spirit Nature has a really interesting interplay between action and resonance, creating drifting sonic clouds for parts of the tracks, against more active and articulate sections. Definitely a piece that rewards several listenings.

Another work that uses texture to create mood is by Susan Hawkins. while he was sleeping – highly recommend a helmet for this one. Sounds drift from ear to ear, with almost constant startling additions throughout the four minutes of work. The melodic accent moves back and forth, creating a real sense of space compared to a traditional recital style performance.

I am now convinced that there are not enough pieces for double bass quartet in the world. If Colin Brumby Continued for the New Colophonium bass quartet, there is nothing to envy, it is a rich area that requires immediate exploration (go ahead commissioners!). The 11-minute piece showcases the range of techniques available to each bass; gorgeous chorales, pizzing bass lines with “hovering” folk-like melodies, and the rich attack and growl that comes from deep within the lower strings.

Instead of Connor D’Netto’s original whisper (which was on our violin playlist a few months ago), I’ve included the Josh Wareham remix of the work. It’s an exciting way to revisit the piece and I think it’s a fantastic listening experience in its own right. Definitely check out the two works back to back if you can.

Sophie Min continues the theme of using sonic layers to create texture in her jazz trio, Entrance and exit. My ears continue to be drawn to the cymbals before the piano, brushes or bass catches my attention. Each instrument has a moment of its own, but for me the sections where they clash in vibrant colors are where the room shines.

Hopefully some tracks caught your eye on the Aussie Art Music Playlist this month – be sure to see if there are any launch gigs to attend or albums to buy for these new releases. But, if you’re looking for more to listen to, the full archive of Australian art music has also been updated on Spotify (now with over 900 tracks to discover!).