Welcome to the Australian Art Music Playlist! A monthly playlist of classical, jazz, experimental and electronic music focusing on contemporary Australian composers, musicians and sound artists.
I’m always thrilled to see new releases in my inbox or on my social media, and the past month has been particularly busy as we approach Australian Music Month. So this month, we’re taking a look at those new or recent releases and highlighting some stellar tracks.
by Jane Sheldon I find you in all things is wonderful. The entire album is a fascinating framework of Rilke’s poetry that flows beautifully from track to track. It’s a masterclass that keeps the audience’s attention through subtle transitions, layering, and an intentional slowness that asks the ever-busy listener to stop, think, and listen. Great art is striking after all.
Phorusrhacos by Chris Perren, interpreted by Nonsemble, is on the other hand an absolute bop. Harmoniously blending strings and synths in a weave of rhythms and chorale, it quickly becomes my accompaniment for morning walks and writing articles. For a different but equally great listening experience, I recommend the MJ O’Neill Remix of this track on Nonsemble’s Bandcamp page – it’s fun to hear how they cropped the strings and melodic material. (Note: more art music remixes, please!)
We have a pair of string quartets this month – Nick Russoniello Harbor City Suite, wrote for himself and the Golden Age Quartet, and Ella Macens’ A love worth fighting for, written for the Flinders Quartet of Melbourne. first movement of Macens, To like, enjoys the precision and clarity of Flinders – separating and coming together in turn with such fragility, warmth and tenderness. It’s a pleasure to hear the players soar. Russoniello’s third movement, Bridge steps, light and sparkling features the saxophone in duet with the strings and takes on a delicious, almost cinematographic allure. Both are excellent works and deserve a listen in their entirety.
Sleep by Mary Finsterer is a reissue of the 2002 electroacoustic work, but it’s really exciting to have it so readily available on her latest album, Modified states. Sleep is an immersive work that takes time to understand everything. I really enjoyed it on headphones, but also imagine that it rewards a good sound system, mood lighting and a bottle of wine. I am always impressed by the capacity of a good electroacoustic work not to create a space by acoustics, but to transform it gently or abruptly and to engender a feeling of travel.
The final work I want to tackle is Stellar from the album cosmic time by Michaela Gleave, Amanda Cole and Louise Devenish. Another album that deserves a good listen, but this track in particular spoke to me. Especially after Finsterer’s Sleep, Stellar takes full advantage of the ability of percussion to reveal space in the reflections of sound waves. The placement of sounds and instruments also leads the ears well, with a sense of spatial placement melodies in addition to pitch. Lots to ponder in this carefully constructed work and recording.
Remember that while streaming is a great way to discover new music, attending concerts or buying albums and merchandise is an even better way to support the artists you love. We have set up a Merchandising board to get started, but be sure to check the artists’ websites for more details and other ways to support them. Look for new developments in this space and work with more partners to better support the art music community in Australia.
Do you want to present your own music or tell me about the latest releases from your label? Feel free to email me at [email protected].
Australian Artistic Music Playlist
Organized by Cameron Lam
November 2022 song list
- Phorusrhacos by Chris Perren | performed by Nonsemble
- summer calls by Sally Greenaway | performed by Barbara Jane Gilby
- I find you in all things by Jane Sheldon
- Annandale Waltz by Ross Edwards | performed by John Martin
- Bridge steps from Harbor City Suite by Nick Russoniello | performed by Nick Russoniello & The Golden Age Quartet
- To like of A love worth fighting for by Ella Macens | performed by Flinders Quartet
- Fading sunlight by Gregory Paul Mineeff
- The way back by Jabra Latham | performed by Jabra Latham, Aurora Henrich, Douglas Coghill, Gina Rose and Ivan James
- Night work by Aviva Endean
- Ghosts by Erik Griswold
- Sleep by Mary Finsterer
- Stellar by Amanda Cole, Louise Devenish and Michaela Gleave
- The flowers of sleep by Roy Agnew | performed by Julie Jong Eun Barber & Jeanell Carrigan
- ‘..to harvest and mow..’ of Work Songs for the Land by Sadie Harrison | performed by Nicholas McCarthy & Sophie Benton
- A song without words for Ania by Peter Knight
- Meaning by Merinda Dias-Jayasinha
- Con fuoco from Sonata for Solo Violin band Cyrus Meurant | performed by Cyrus Meurant
- Vision 2020 by Teresa Wojcik | performed by the Trio de Novo
- The baroque cloth by May Howlett | performed by John Martin
- Agatha by Luke Howard
Listen on Spotify
Over 100 hours of music previously featured on this playlist can be found on the Australian Art Music Archive Playlistwith previous merchandise available here.