An interesting disc, although it has to be said that many of the fourteen
works on this disc are not particularly good, or significant. What is important
is the Three Sydney Streetscenes by the British composer John Veale
which is, by far, the best piece on the disc and, quite frankly, the only
profitable reason for acquiring it. The Streetscenes are settings of three
poems by Kenneth Slesson (1901 - 1971) and depict locations in the Darlinghurst
area of Sydney. They are set for a chamber choir and small instrumental ensemble.
Often the choral lines have a telling Aboriginal primitivism which is enhanced
by the discreet but effective use of percussion.
The most lengthy work on this disc is also by a composer born in England,
Richard Charlton (born 1955). His song cycle Dust on a Butterfly's Wing
sets seven poems by the Australian poet Minnie Agnes Filson, better known
as 'Rickety Kate' and is scored for soprano and guitar. The vocal line is
very restricted and the music is sparse and amateurish.
We have music for mandolin ensemble which is also quite poor.
Richard Austin's Ramble on a tune by Percy Grainger takes Handel in
the Strand to pieces and often ridiculously so in an ever-shifting meter.
Ray Lemon's piano piece Illusion is just that, but it is an attractive
miniature of what might be called salon music but exceptionally pleasant.
(for the Veale