Gordon KERRY (b.1961) Nocturne for double chamber orchestra (1995) [11:11]
Concerto for cello, strings and percussion (1996) [14:31]
* Bright Meniscus (1997) [8:54] Heart’s-Clarion for trumpet and strings (1988) [13:21]
+ Harvesting the solstice thunders [12:35] Sue-Ellen
Paulsen (cello) *
Geoffrey Payne (trumpet) +
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/David Porcelijn
rec. Odeon Theatre, Hobart, June 2000 ABC CLASSICS 4762268 [61:03]
Kerry was born in 1961 in Victoria and is another in this
impressive ABC Australian Composers Series with its
complement of full notes and very persuasive performances.
One or two of the discs seem to have been sourced elsewhere.
The Sitsky Violin Concertos that I also reviewed for example
originally appeared on that other prominent Australian label
is a versatile musician and a writer on music as well, at
ease writing for opera as he is for community projects. He
was in his early to mid thirties when he composed the Nocturne
for double chamber orchestra. Kerry himself notes that
he’d recently heard Berg’s Chamber Concerto and it seems
to have cast a creative pull. There are expressionist hints
here as well, full of colour and full of incident, both horizontal
and vertical. There’s a limpid piano part and an occasionally
chilly but by no means waspish absorption of the Second Viennese
year later he finished the Concerto for cello, strings and
percussion, so adeptly performed here by Sue-Ellen Paulsen.
It was written for Truls Mørk. Once again the syntax is decidedly
Bergian with plenty of terse and tense material. But there’s
also a welcome lightness and vitesse – with a cello glissando
of dynamism and cushioning orchestration. Still, Kerry doesn’t
go easy on his audience; the finale of this compact fourteen-minute
work is somewhat elliptical.
a great deal of space between the Concerto and Bright
Meniscus even though they were written barely a year
apart. Bright Meniscus is positively Straussian in
its ebullience and colour. There are even some brass calls
that put me in mind of Egmont – and there are also some cinematically
pulsing moments as well. Heart’s-Clarion for trumpet and
strings was written when Kerry was in his late twenties.
With it we return to some strongly Berg-influenced writing.
String textures are powerful and there’s a fine section for
muted trumpet – the spatial effects evoked are also worthy
there is Harvesting the solstice thunders which was
the very work that cellist Truls Mørk heard in its premiere
performance and which so impressed him that he asked Kerry
for a work to perform. This one extends the range of Kerry’s
influences to include Debussy – there’s a fine control here
over pacing and structure. Tone colours are subtle and nature
painting is involving. Even the more squally moments and
grainier, graver textures are articulate.
is a strong and individual voice and he’s been outstandingly
well served by his forces here.
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