2 New CD Reviews | Peter McNamara | Danaë Killian

by | Jul 4, 2021 | Ambassador thoughts

Peter McNamara

De Rerum Natura

Chloe Lankshear – soprano
Alicia Crossley – recorders
Heathcliffe Auchinachie – guitar
Brad Gill – percussion

Over the last 20 or so years I have found it most intriguing to follow the trends and paths that are being trod by the new generations of Australian composers and I was keen to hear the music of Peter McNamara, a composer who I had not heard of until the release of this CD.

Whereas in the 1960’s and a couple of decades after that Australian composers were keen to either forge an identity with this land and surrounding cultures (think Peter Sculthorpe and Anne Boyd) or pursue the musical advances of Europe (think Richard Meale and also Nigel Butterly) or even fly in the face of orthodoxy and create new concepts, merging notation and extreme improvisation (and here David Ahern was our foremost protagonist), composers today seem to be able to flit between many different musical worlds and many of them seem to not particularly be attached to a tradition of ‘arthouse’ music formerly expounded in this country. This can lead to a plethora of stylistic music genres and perhaps that is a good thing in this new world.

De Rerum Natura seems to me to be written for some imaginary theatrical production where it creates a sense of stasis both musically and dramatically. For much of the time McNamara is determined to neither change pulse or harmonic or melodic content as if it would disturb his musical vision.

Wonderful performances by Chloe Lankshear, Heathcliffe Auchinachie, Brad Gill and the Australian superstar of recorder, Alicia Crossley.

Available through Peter McNamara HERE

 


Another CD that, although released a few years back, only recently came my way is of the piano music of Arnold Schoenberg performed by that foremost of Melbourne keyboardists, Danaë Killian.

Danaë Killian

Arnold Schoenberg – The complete works for Piano

40 or 50 years ago the Schoenberg works for piano were considered by many to be esoteric and almost impenetrable to the general concertgoer but now, with that wonderful aid, hindsight, we can see them for what they truly are – a wonderful expression of musical thought from the late romantic period into the modernist era. And how additionally wonderful to have Danaë Killian bring this expressive and harmonically rich music to life. She clearly loves the piano works of Schoenberg and every nuance is ever so carefully expressed – dense here, ethereal there and then dancelike and a moment later joyously explosive. Fabulous playing from beginning to end. I would have liked a booklet to go with the CD and I also fully understand how important it is to keep costs down but this is a most minor quibble.

Danaë Killian’s contribution to the recorded music of Schoenberg is a worthy addition to any CD collection.

Drei Klavierstücke, Op. 11 (1909)
Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19 (1911)
Fünf Klavierstücke, Op. 23 (1923)
Suite, Op. 25 (1923)
Klavierstück, Op. 33a (1929)
Klavierstück, Op. 33b (1931)

MOVE Records notes that although there is no printed booklet with this CD, Danaë Killian has provided a comprehensive essay “For Grasping Schoenberg” which is available for viewing or downloading as a PDF digital booklet on the Move Records website page for this disc.

Available through MOVE records HERE

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About The Author

Alan Holley

Alan has been composing works that have been regularly performed and broadcast in Australia since the mid-1970s and over the past 25 years his music has become increasingly well-known in America and Europe. His trumpet concerto Doppler’s Web (2005) and A Line of Stars (2007) were commissioned and performed in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. His music is published by EMI Australia, Allans and Kookaburra Music and recordings of his music have been released on numerous labels.

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