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<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Tattersall    A SENSE OF SPACIOUSNESS


Neil Currie and Vincent Plush are both represented by explicitly political pieces. Currie's Ortigas Avenue celebrates the 1986 Filipino revolution, while Plush takes folksinger-poet Victor Jara as a symbol of the freedom which Chile lost when Allende was toppled in the 1973 military coup. Coincidentally, the composers' lives mirror each other as neatly as do their pieces: Currie was born in Canada, worked in Australia for about a decade, and then returned home, while Plush was born in Australia, worked extensively in USA, and is now back in Australia.

Ortigas Avenue has its moments of tension but joyful dance rhythms, with clear references to Filipino folk music, predominate [listen -- track 5, 5:35-6:46]. On Shooting Stars -- Homage to Victor Jara (1981) is a more extended and more programmatic work. Its haunting final section starts ominously [listen -- track 17, 0:00-0:52]. In time, the recorded voice of Jara emerges, only to be buried again under layers of instrumental static.

The nine musicians involved in these performances (see CD details below) are all at the peak of the profession in Australia. They have played together in various combinations in the Australia Ensemble, the Seymour Group and the country's leading orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and others. Their performances of this repertoire can be regarded as definitive.

Red Earth is a lovely disc in its own right and needs no other recommendation, but there is an obvious bonus: it's a good introduction to the composers represented on it. Those unfamiliar with any contemporary Australian music will find it a good starting point but should try to complement it. Something by Peter Sculthorpe, preferably for strings or full orchestra, should be high on the list; other than that, one could confidently follow up the work of any of the people -- composers or performers -- or ensembles (or indeed the record-label) responsible for this fine recording.

Copyright © 20 October 2004 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


Red Earth - Tall Poppies Ensemble

TP133 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 67'46" 2004 Tall Poppies Records

Tall Poppies Ensemble: Geoffrey Collins, flute/piccolo; Cathy McCorkill, clarinet; John Harding, violin; Esther can Stralen, viola; David Pereira, cello; Daryl Pratt, percussion; Roger Brooke, bassoon; Ian Munro, piano; David Stanhope, conductor

Colin Bright (born 1949): Red Earth (1985); Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990): Concertino da Camera (1948); Neil Currie (born 1955): Ortigas Avenue (1986); David Lumsdaine (born 1931): Bagatelles (1985); Ross Edwards (born 1943): Shadow D-Zone (1977); Vincent Plush (born 1950): On Shooting Stars - Homage to Victor Jara (1981)


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