This compilation takes
as its theme the ideas of timelessness
and landscape. As is the way with such
things one feels both curiosity and
frustration in equal measure; curiosity
as to the bigger picture of each work,
frustration that we can only hear snippets,
or isolated movements. Still, that’s
the name of the game, and if one’s interest
is stimulated then one knows where ABC’s
catalogue is to be found.
There’s time only for
a few brief comments. Most, if not all,
of the works cleave to the romantic,
or vaguely neo-classical idioms. Some,
like Ross Edwards’ employ native instruments
such as the didjeridu (that’s ABC’s
spelling and I suppose they should know)
and, like his, most are restful and
lyric in the non-supine sense of the
words. This isn’t an easy listening
sampler – it’s much too full of grace
and melodic curve for that. Sculthorpe
fuses such lyricism with an evocative
Last Post reminiscence and there’s
fine pleine air from Koehne.
Grainger is here, albeit only 2:30 of
him, and he stands as a Mount Rushmore.
I liked the old fashioned Westlake and
the Neapolitan song aura of the Hobson/Hirschfelder.
One strand that runs
through the disc is the visual-filmic
element; several of these pieces derive
from films or are themselves cinematic
in sound; the John and the Meale are
especially fine examples. There are
also hints of other kinds of Australianness
in the Russian Rag by Kats-Chernin though
it would be nice if sleeve writers and
cultural commentators could find another
topic of burning import to take their
minds off the hoary old subject of "Anglo-centrism."
- whatever that is. Miriam Hyde plays
the slow movement of her Concerto, one
bathed in Rachmaninovian light. There’s
a sample of Hill’s impressive quartet
writing (get those Marco Polo Quartets
and Symphonies while you can). There’s
also more Glanville-Hicks (collected
edition anyone? I’m waiting) as well
as the rippling romance of Carl Vine.
If your heart’s in
the right place I think you’ll come
across some new avenues to explore.
But Darmstadt hardliners need not apply.