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Before the orchestra arrives we are treated to a substantial solo recital. All of the items were commissioned by Kain and all of them are world première recordings. To present seven new pieces from as many Australian composers is a respectable achievement, but the quality and diversity evident here takes Kain's achievement from 'respectable' to 'impressive'.

The title track is by Richard Vella. Irresistibly propelled by its walking bass, Mirrors of Fire is a driving, dramatic piece which never loses its superbly focused energy [listen -- track 7, 0:00-1:00].

Wesley-Smith's piece is more spacious than most at over eight minutes and has a political programme, as his music so often does. Kolele Mai, based on a Timorese resistance song, opens ominously but satisfyingly works through, and resolves, its tensions [listen -- track 6, 0:00-1:10].

Ross Edwards' Blackwattle Caprices are a slow-fast pair, song and dance respectively. Edwards himself prefers the term 'maninya' to 'dance', explaining that maninyas are dance-chants; it's an aboriginal word that is gradually acquiring a meaning to listeners through his regular use of it [listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:23].

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Copyright © 19 June 2005 Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia


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