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EXPOSÉ - the chamber works of PETER TAHOURDIN: Dialogue no 1 (1971) for violin and piano; Raga Music 1 - The Starlight Night (1985) for soprano and ensemble; Dialogue No 4 (1984) for trombone and percussion; Songs of Love and Fortune (1992) for baritone and piano; Raga Music 4 - For Two (1991) for bass clarinet and percussion;Expose (1995) for solo piano Kirsten Williams, Michael Harvey, Jeannie Marsh, Gerald Gentry, Frederick Shade, Rudolf Osadnik, Arturs Ezergailis, Peter Neville, Barrie webb, Julian Warburton, Bradley Daley, Phillipa Safey, Carl Rosman MD 3205 Move Records 10, Glen Drive, Eaglemont Victoria 3084 Australia
Tel: (03) 9497 3105 Fax: (03) 9497 4426

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Peter Tahourdin (born in 1928) studied with Richard Arnell at Trinity College of Music, London. Settling in Australia in 1964, he became visiting composer to the University of Adelaide. There, five years later, Tahourdin established the first practical course in electronic music in Australia. In 1973, he was appointed lecturer in composition at the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Music. The earliest piece in Peter Tahourdin's current catalogue of works is the Sinfonietta no1 of 1952. This was followed by a second Sinfonietta in 1959. Both these attractive, well-crafted light orchestral works are still available on hire from Peters Edition. He wrote his first symphony in England in 1960. This closely-argued and immensely enjoyable tonal symphony proved the composer's natural gifts as a symphonist. Indeed, he has written four more examples in the genre (1969, 1979, 1987 and 1994). All have received performances with the exception of the fifth which is still awaiting its premiere. They constitute important markers in the composer's career and deserve wider dissemination through performances, broadcasts and recordings. His other compositions range from orchestral to choral, stage works (including a one-act opera, "Inside Information" (1955) and a one-act ballet, "Illyria" (1965)), electronic pieces, instrumental works, pieces for tape and educational works (including a one-act opera for children, Parrot Pie (1973). Scores and performance material of the compositions of Peter Tahourdin may be obtained from the Australian Music Centre PO Box N690, Grosvenor Place, NSW 1220, Australia Tel: 61-2-9247 4677 or Fax: 61-2-9241 2873.

This CD includes an impressive cross-section of his chamber pieces covering a span of 24 years. All the works assembled on the disc are strongly argued, demanding and repaying repeated hearing. The language is atonal and sometimes uncompromisingly tough but the musical arguments are not difficult to follow. They merely require concentrated listening. The CD includes two attractive vocal works (Raga Music 1 of 1985, an exotically scored creative interpretation of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "The Starlight Night" and Songs of Love and Fortune, a vibrant 1992 setting of five poems from the Carmina Burana). The purely instrumental works are tougher nuts to crack but the idiomatic writing bespeaks musicianship of the highest order. The two atmospheric pieces from the Raga music series are based structurally on the slowly unfolding raga of North Indian classical music. The two dialogues take the form of a discussion between two musicians, including virtuosic cadenza-like episodes for both players at the climax of each piece.

An appetising entrée to the music of Peter Tahourdin, this CD has made me want to hear his works for larger forces (the five symphonies in particular) in modern digital recordings of the calibre of the present release. At over 70 minutes' duration, the disc is well filled and the performances are all imaginative and reveal considerable interpretative insight, especially Jeannie Marsh in the taxing soprano part of "The Starlight Night". Recommended with enthusiasm as a rare opportunity to sample the individual soundworld of a composer who has been sadly and unjustly neglected by the musical establishment in the country of his birth.


Paul Conway


Paul Conway

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