28 November 2012
Melbourne Composers League and 'Four Colours'
Johanna Selleck writes about the Melbourne Composers' League and its current concert series 'Four Colours'. The first of four concerts, with the theme 'Indigo' took place in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton last weekend, and the next one to follow takes place in Richmond on 9 December.
On 24th November, the Melbourne Composers' League presented 'Indigo', the first of our 'Four Colours' concerts, at Trinity Uniting Church, Brighton. For some of us, recently returned from the Asian Composers' Festival in Israel (read Andrián Pertout's blog about the festival), the concert re-ignited the heightened sense of expectation that comes with hearing new works, in new venues, with top-class performers. On this occasion we were not disappointed, with strong and expressive performances delivered by Tim Veldman and Yi Wang on violin, Gabrielle Hollaron on viola, and Chien Hsiu Wung and Alister Barker on cello.
In the spirit of exchange associated with the ACL, tonight's concert presented works from Hong Kong and Australia. This idea of international reciprocation has been an important theme behind all the MCL concerts, with around 400 works presented in Melbourne since 1997, including composers from the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and Europe.
The Trinity Church in Brighton provides an atmosphere that is not to be found in modern concert venues. The church was built in 1875 and is distinguished by its striking brickwork, elaborately stenciled internal walls, solid kauri pine church pews, and an 1884 George Fincham organ - an impressive backdrop to the performance. In Saturday's concert, the setting was completed to perfection by subtle lighting and the pungent scent of lilies. The clear, warm acoustic of the church is ideally suited to chamber music in the way it naturally blends and sculpts the sound, and this helped to bring to life the opening piece, Sambhala, a subtle and spacious work for cello duo by David Holyoake.
The vastly different stylistic approaches of each of the programmed works was the most interesting aspect of the concert. Before interval, Peter Simondson's Four Colours: Indigo was vibrant with rich sonorities that made clever use of the additional cello in the quintet. Silvia Simons's intriguing Indigo Realms was a homage to Felix Werder and used the characters of his name to generate pitch material. Paul Moulatlet's Aftermath was, in the words of the composer, intended to 'promote intellectual engagement with the notions of instability' and, to this end, he made wonderful use of textural contrast.
Andrián Pertout's work for solo violin, The Elements, employed long cascading figures balanced by upwardly climbing lines and was coloured by delicate flute-like figurations. Andrián was not able to be in Melbourne for the concert as he is in high demand on the international concert circuit (this month in Chile for six performances of his new orchestral work). Eve Duncan's evocative Archai (stemming from her interest in the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner) and Anthony Wilson's romantically-inclined Frustration led into the final work for the evening by Hong Kong composer Ada Nga-Ting Lai. Ada's piece, Songs of Bones and Dust, was inspired by an archaeological site in Japan, where the inhabitants, who lived around 6000 years ago, developed ceremonies paying respect to broken utensils that could no longer be used. We were fortunate tonight to hear the world premiere of this work, which was jointly commissioned by the MCL and the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong.
Our next concert in the 'Four Colours' series is 'Orange'. The concert on the 9th December at the Richmond Town Hall will present new music by composers from Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey, and features a wonderful line-up of local performers, including Silo String Quartet and the renown English trombonist and conductor, Barrie Webb.
'Four Colours: Orange' at Richmond Town Hall on 9 December 2012
at 3pm - see
event details in the AMC Calendar
Works by Brenton Broadstock, Paul Moulatlet, Andrián Pertout, Haydn Reeder, Peter Tahourdin, Antonio Tenace, Chris Watson, Anthony Wilson, Ahmet Yürür
Melbourne Composers League (www.melbournecomposersleague.com)
© Australian Music Centre (2012) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Johanna Selleck is a Melbourne-based composer and member of the Melbourne Composers’ League. She currently teaches composition at the University of Melbourne.
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