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Andrew SCHULTZ (b. 1960)

Suspended Preludes – Chamber Music Volume 2

Respiro/Simple Ground (1993) [12:28]

Barcarole (1992) [4:07]

From Fire Country (2003) [5:31]

Night Flight (2003) [5:32]

12 Variations (1997) [11:40]

Sleepers Wake – Karalananga (2003) [5:29]

Stick Dance III (1992) [7:57]

Suspended Preludes (1993) [10:29]

Tonic Continent (2000) [9:05]

Timothy Munro (flute), Paul Dean (clarinet), Floyd Williams (bass clarinet), Dima Tkachenko (violin), Michele Walsh (violin), Stephen Reeves (double bass), Stephen Emmerson (piano), Bernard Lanskey (piano), Griffith Trio: Michele Walsh (violin), Markus Stocker (cello), Stephen Emmerson (piano)

rec. April 2004, Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University, Brisbane, NSW; 23 – 24 February 2005, Music Hall, Guildhall Shool of Music and Drama, London (Night Flight); 4 December 2004, Iwaki Auditorium, ABC Melbourne (Suspended Preludes) DDD
TALL POPPIES TP171 [73:41] 


Experience Classicsonline

Andrew Schultz is an Adelaide-born composer who was Head of Composition and Music Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London, from 1997 to 2002, and since his return to his homeland he has been Chair of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. His works have gone round the world and he’s written in most genres and this sampling of his chamber works is as good a place to start with his work, if you don’t know it, as any.

Respiro/Simple Ground for flute and piano (played by Munro and Lanskey) is a true virtuoso work. Is it a race? A dance? A ritual perhaps? It’s all of these things and none of them. In its free form it’s liberated from all definitions. Listen to it simply as an attractive, colourful duet for one of the most melodic of instruments in constant discourse with the keyboard, for that, in essence, is what it is. The long coda is especially beautiful, flecks of sound from both instruments, constantly coming to rest before taking off again, but more tired each time, culminating in the exhalation of breath – the most natural of sounds. 

Barcarole for prepared piano (played by Emmerson) has a sinister side to it, perhaps this is the lost grandson of Liszt’s lugubre gondola? It’s very disturbing and unnerving, like those things which go bump in the night (or maybe you just misheard a floorboard creaking). 

From Fire Country (the fire country referred to is the country round Horseshoe Bend, Northern Territory, and its legendary heatwaves), for solo bass clarinet (played by Williams) is a long unbroken melody, whose reverie is rudely interrupted by the danse macabre of Night Flight (played by Tkachenko and Lanskey), an unrelenting piece of non–stop forward momentum. 

12 Variations for piano duet (played by Emmerson and Lanskey) offers the first respite from all the energy so far expelled on this disk. In general it’s a gentle, and restrained, nocturne, which grows to quite a climax, which is short lived, towards the end. Sleepers Wake – Karalananga for piano (played by Lanskey) is a meditation on two themes from his cantata Journey to Horseshoe Bend – Wachet auf (the Lutheran chorale) and a Karalananga melody which is heard between phrases of the hymn. It has a sustained beauty which is truly memorable. 

With Stick Dance III for clarinet, violin and piano (played by Dean, Walsh and Emmerson) we’re back with rhythmic excitement, here tempered by sections of sustained lyricism. The Suspended Preludes for double bass and ever–so slightly prepared piano (played by Reeves and Emmerson) uses a full palette of sounds, from the usual to vigorous tapping inside the piano, and there’s everything from quiet and meditative to fast and violent. Tonic Continent (played by the Griffith Trio) is a work full of the richest lyricism, warm and vibrant. 

The question some people will be asking is, “is this Schultz guy worth investigating?” and the answer, most certainly, is yes. He has an appealing style which, although seemingly difficult at times, can easily be understood in writing which is idiomatic for the instruments he uses and is always colourful and interesting. And what’s more – he can write truly fast music.

The performances are very committed and the notes full and very helpful when making your way through new works. The recording is very clear with good balance between all the players. A real success and well worth investigating.

Bob Briggs 





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