Sculthorpe: Sonata for Cello Alone; Requiem; Djilile; Tailitnama Song; Threnody; Into the Dreaming; Parting; From Saibai

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COMPOSERS: Sculthorpe
LABELS: Tall Poppies
WORKS: Sonata for Cello Alone; Requiem; Djilile; Tailitnama Song; Threnody; Into the Dreaming; Parting; From Saibai
PERFORMER: David Pereira (cello), Ian Munro (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: TP 136
The Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe (now in his seventies) describes the cello as ‘one of my favourite musical instruments’; and that much is obvious from the melodic warmth and vivid colouring of the pieces for cello, with and without piano, collected on this disc. The major work is the unaccompanied Requiem of 1979, a simple and moving piece in which the cello proves the perfect instrumental exponent of plainsong melodies, and its range of colours is expanded significantly by the tuning-down of the bottom string by a tone. This is complemented by a solo Sonata from 1959, cast in one resourcefully varied movement, and a group of more recent miniatures, some adapted from works for other forces. Several pieces are based on Australian Aboriginal melodies, among them the touching unaccompanied Threnody for the conductor Stuart Challender; and one piece, From Saibai, uses traditional material from an island in the Torres Strait, placed effectively in the context of an atmospheric piano part. Here, the microphones pick up a hint of distortion in the piano’s upper range; but in general they provide a glowing representation of David Pereira’s burnished tone, and his and Ian Munro’s ardent advocacy of a major and highly individual creative figure. Anthony Burton

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