Friday, 25 January 2013

Australia Day

To celebrate Australia Day I thought I'd just collect some links to some of my favourite pieces by Australian composers. Not a comprehensive list but a start and a celebration anyway.

First off the bat is of course part of Nigel Westlake's Antarctica Suite - the Penguin Ballet. I really love the whole suite and the whole penguin thing just speaks to me cause I'm that kind of a guy.

I did want the second piece to be at least part of Graeme Koehner's Selfish Giant ballet but I couldn't find a link (I confess to being a bit lazy and not scouring for one, I'll do that anon). Instead here is his piece To His Servant Bach God Grants a Final Glimpse. This is a beautiful swoon worthy piece with lilting strings under a singing violin. Or is the violin punctuating the strings? Not really but they work together very well.

Thirdly, Peter Sculthorpe's charming Left Bank Waltz. It was the first of his I knew and for a time the only piece of his I liked. My tastes have broadened since but this little gem is still probably my favourite of his. The version here is quite astounding, you have to ignore the constant sound of flash charging and photo taking, but just check out how old this pianist is.

I have to include Ross Edwards' Violin Concerto 'Maninyas'. My introduction to this was Swoon III, a short excerpt that is one of my favourite swoons. When I heard the rest of the concerto for the first time I was actually a bit taken aback and unimpressed but as with Sculthorpe my tastes have broadened and I do enjoy the whole work. This is the triumphant third movement, hearing it now I can't think why I didn't like this initially.

For the fifth and final piece I would have loved to share Sally Whitwell's Concerto for Toy Piano - partly so I could hear it myself - but as with the Selfish Giant, no dice. Here instead is The Insomnia Waltz for piano and violin.

Let's remember the talent in this country and enjoy what artists of all kinds have to offer. Happy Australia Day.

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