Sculthorpe: Piano Concerto; Little Nourlangie; Music for Japan; The Song of Tailitnama

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COMPOSERS: Sculthorpe
LABELS: ABC
WORKS: Piano Concerto; Little Nourlangie; Music for Japan; The Song of Tailitnama
PERFORMER: Tamara Anna Cislowska (piano), David Drury (organ), Mark Atkins (didjeridu), Kirsti Harms (mezzo-soprano)Sydney SO/Edo de Waart
CATALOGUE NO: 8.770030
For Peter Sculthorpe, as Graeme Skinner says in his booklet notes, ‘the realisation of Australia’s physical proximity to the other countries [and oceanic islands] of the Pacific basin’ – from Japan and Mexico to Bali (where he sketched the Piano Concerto) and Tasmania (where he was born in 1929) – is ‘an essential part of being Australian’. A remarkable wealth of world history, music and folklore has been his inspiration. He has hunted from Africa to Asia, from Schoenberg to Penderecki, from tempered scales to microtones, from silence through rhythm to melody, from acoustic beginnings to electronic montage. Don’t be put off. Possessed of a powerful inner clock, the grippingly evocative soundscapes he imagines are among the most individually compelling, universally embracing affirmations of our time. Earthily vibrant, mystically suggestive, tuning in to ancestral voices, the present four works – spanning a period from Expo 70 to 1990, with a didjeridu track added to Music for Japan (‘for’ Japan but ‘about’ Australia) – are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Likewise their performance. Edo de Waart may not spring to mind as the most obvious Nineties modernist, but the epic, atmospheric dimension of Sculthorpe’s vision self-evidently speaks to the Bruckner or Mahler within him. The CD has been magisterially produced by London-based Tim Handley and spectacularly engineered by Yossi Gabbay (Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House). Amazing. Ates Orga

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