Duets are really interesting studies of texture, silence, expression, and communication between players. In the opening works for this month’s list, we hear three completely different examples for solo voice and strings (double bass or cello), each focusing on a different type of expression.
He was a loaded gun by Kristin Berardi and Sam Anning relies on solid bass ostinatos for structure, using vocal layers and poignant silence for incredible effect. On the other hand, Moon on Fire So strong moves much faster between textures and expressive techniques, creating a rippling and catchy piece of work that has a huge impact when it reaches its end in unison.
Ross edwards Maninia I is a classic work from the Australian repertoire. Through its three sections, Jenny Duck-Chong and Geoffrey Gartner present both incredibly spacious textures (melting masterfully in and out of silence), like more animated sections sailing on a wave of impulse created by the two performers.
Taking advantage of the range of sounds available for percussion, Stars by Elissa Goodrich presents a new duo of kalimba and drums – Daniel Farrugia’s use of brushes is also welcome and creates a varied space in which the kalimba can play.
In the same spirit, Bottles in Bottles Clocked Out Duo mixes harsh melodic and rhythmic attacks with wider washouts of sounds to create a wonderful, almost mechanical pattern in their percussion and prepared piano duo.
The mechanistic theme continues with Louise Denson The life of the mill. The Duo Viney-Grinberg captures both the coarse grinding of the mill and the ecstatic grooves and rhythms. It’s a fascinating listening experience, and I personally would love to see this choreography someday.
In addition to the works listed above, there is an incredible amount of music for different instruments. There are works for saxophone and flute by Matthew Hindson, Anne Boyd and Russell Gilmour, and compositions for strings by Ben Northey, Chris Williams and Nicole Murphy, among works for guitar, harp, piano and synthesizer. Tell us which was your favorite room!
Hope you enjoy this month’s selection of music on the Aussie Art Music playlist – it’s fun to see different artists interact and collaborate in such an intimate setting. But, if you’re looking for more to listen to (including works for bigger forces), the entire Australian Music Archive has also been updated on Spotify (now with over 87 hours of music to explore!) .
Join me next month for the violin in the spotlight moment.