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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.