We start with starlight.
Caerwen Martin’s Stars come out in a midnight sky is the perfect piece of soft contemplation, slowly moving from small gestures to large sweeps, showing the wonderful work of ACO Collective together. song of the stars by Daniel Wilfred and Sunny Kim instantly transports us to a more spacious interpretation of starlight. The recording production really gives a feeling of immersion and being surrounded by the players of the Australian Art Orchestra.
way of the dead by Kate Moore absolutely captivated me from the first listen, and despite its different subject matter, it feels at home in a space of distance and stars. In many ways, it mirrors the sense of awe we get when gazing into space. It navigates the isolation and loneliness of being adrift in a sea of stars, beautifully captured by Anna McMichael’s violin melodies and Genevieve Lang Huppert’s spacious harp ostinatos.
We continue this reflection with Requiem for the Holocene by Nicholas Meredith and Tilman Robinson. The white noise build under a textural melodic line feels appropriate here, as thoughts give way to being and gazing at the sky.
Birdsong joins us.
Nardi Simpson stars and birds has been on this playlist before, but it’s too perfect a transition to pass up. Lamorna Nightingale and Jason Noble’s flute and clarinet lines inject energy and movement into our listening experience, while Claire Edwardes’ vibraphone keeps us attached to the stars that have gone before us.
A new job for us is Birdsong lock by Bryony Marks. A more grounded and melancholy work than Simpson’s, Eric Kennedy’s violin playing communicates a tender, delicate longing that still preserves forward momentum. In contrast, Cassie To’s snowy owl is immediately dramatic and full of anticipation. The rich ostinatos in chords contrasting with the sounds of birds, the reverberation and the short gestures of the strings give the Snowy Owl a great majesty.
The clouds are coming, bringing snow and rain.
Nadje Noordhuis captures a feeling of warmth in isolation in her room Migration, his trumpet playing is imbued with nuances that I would normally associate with human voices. The harmony blankets move and shimmer giving me the impression of distant snowbanks. Where Lachlan Skipworth brings light rain expertly rendered by shakuhachi and string quartet with just the right mix of sustain, gestural movement and silence.
And finally, dawn arrives.
The morning starts slowly at Andrea Keller Horizons Cusp. The performance benefits greatly from his expert sense of timing, extending the silence just long enough to become anticipation.
Playlist ends with flowers by Kirsten Milenko, and I love the rich texture of this work. Almost as if, having looked into the distance, we do not see a flower but each cell of the plant. We delight in the ridges, roughness and structure as much as the liveliness of the petals. There are worlds contained therein.
Hope you enjoyed the music and the slightly different format this month, let me know if it’s an experience you’d like to revisit. As mentioned earlier, if you enjoyed any of the Aussie Art Music playlists this month, be sure to see if there are any gigs to attend or albums to buy – I know musicians would appreciate really your support.