Listen to the Australian Art Music playlist: January 2022

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Duos are really interesting studies in texture, silence, expression, and communication between players. In the opening works of 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, employing vocal layers and poignant silence to incredible effect. On the other hand Moon on Fire’s So strong moves much more quickly between textures and expressive techniques creating an undulating and driving work that has a huge impact when it reaches its end in unison.

Ross Edwards’ Maninya I is a classic work from the Australian repertoire. Across its three sections, Jenny Duck-Chong and Geoffrey Gartner feature both incredibly spacious textures (masterfully fading in and out of silence), as well as busier sections riding a wave of momentum created by the two performers.

Taking advantage of the range of sounds available for percussion, Stars by Elissa Goodrich presents a new kalimba and drum duo – Daniel Farrugia’s use of brushes is also particularly welcome and creates a varied space in which the kalimba can play.

In the same order of ideas, From bottles to bottles by Clocked Out Duo mixes hard melodic and rhythmic attacks with wider washes of sound to create a wonderful, almost mechanical pattern in their prepared drum and piano duet.

The mechanistic theme continues with Louise Denson’s Mill life. The Viney-Grinberg duo capture both brutal mill grinding and ecstatic grooves and beats. It’s a fascinating listening experience, and I would personally love to see it choreographed one day.

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. Let us know what your favorite piece was!

I hope you enjoy this month’s selection of music on the Aussie Art Music Playlist – it’s fun to see different performers interact and collaborate in such an intimate setting. But, if you’re looking for more to listen to (including works for larger forces), the full archive of Australian artistic music has also been updated on Spotify (now with over 87 hours of music to discover!) .

Join me next month for the fiddle moment.

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