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A sense of spaciousness

A contemporary Australian music showcase -
reviewed by

'... a lovely disc ...'

Red Earth - Tall Poppies Ensemble. © 2004 Tall Poppies

Australia has a -- perhaps surprisingly -- lively new music scene and this disc showcases work by a number of her important composers. It is not, however, just a sampler drawn from past recordings. Tall Poppies, a label with a wonderful record of support for new Australian music, has brought together a group of outstanding players to record some of the best music from the archives of two of the country's leading contemporary music ensembles, the Australia Ensemble and the Seymour Group.

As that implies, the works are not particularly new. Most, in fact, are relatively early pieces by composers who are now mid-career.

The six compositions fall neatly into pairs.

Colin Bright's comments on the title track, his Red Earth (1985), also define what is perhaps the most idiosyncratic element of Australian composition: 'There is an overall sense of stasis and spaciousness, a flatness and repetitiveness which is characteristic of so much of the outback landscape ... Even if you live in the city, the vast space of the interior is still part of [your] psyche.' [Listen -- track 1, 2:40-3:43.]

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Copyright © 20 October 2004 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


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