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<<  -- 2 --  Ron Bierman    CONTRASTING STYLES


Five of the CD's nine pieces are for solo cello. The others are for cello and piano. Slow tempos predominate. Many of the pieces are programmatic. Sculthorpe is one of the best known Australian composers and often seeks inspiration in his country's challenges and unique nature. Djilile for cello and piano provides ample evidence. The title means 'whistling-duck on a billabong'. The piece is based on a native chant and designed to suggest that it is possible for aborigines to live in harmony with Australia's other races. The point is made as the modal music of the piano joins the cello's more chromatic European-sound [listen -- track 8, 2:18-3:46]. As we saw, a similar duality appears in the Requiem. The merger of contrasting styles often plays a role in Sculthorpe's music.

The remaining pieces in the recital are generally short in length and, for the most part, maintain the somber mood. Some reflect the beauties of nature, others memorialize departed friends. All are worthwhile.

Sculthorpe has experimented during his long career with many techniques and styles from clusters to quarter tones, from serial to neo-romantic. Yet the pieces I've heard are recognizably his, infused with feeling, frequently tinged with the color of native-Australian harmonies and suggesting nature and his country's vast landscapes. So this isn't a disk for those favoring 'pure' music, but I do highly recommend it for those who love lyrical works with a touch of the exotic, and even more to those who share the composer's love of the deeply satisfying sound of a beautifully-played cello.

Copyright © 4 November 2003 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


Peter Sculthorpe - Music for cello

TP136 DDD Stereo 68'50" 2002 Tall Poppies Records

David Pereira, cello; Ian Munro, piano

Sonata for Cello Alone (1959); Requiem, for cello alone (1979); Djilile, for cello and piano (1986); Tailitnama Song, for cello and piano (1989); Threnody, for solo cello (1991); Into the Dreaming, for cello alone (1993); Parting, for cello and piano (1995); Talitnama Song, for cello solo (1997); From Saibai, for cello and piano (1997)


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