Aether Duo launch – joyous, thought-provoking, and inspiring

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Ambassador thoughts, Composer, Flute, Piano, Premiere

Aether Duo | New Dawn

June 29, 2024 | Tempo Rubato, Brunswick, VIC

The launch of Aether Duo was joyous, thought-provoking, and inspiring close to Pride Month for 2024. Consisting of Robert McIntyre (flute) and Sam Williams (piano), the pair joined forces to champion LGBTQIA+ composers from across history. Considered programming saw the well-known voices of Francis Poulenc, John Cage and Samuel Barber shining amongst the freshness of Australian composers Sally Whitwell and Christine Pan, while highlighting the healthy compositional catalogues of the players themselves, which sparkled just as bright.

The night began with the playful introduction to Whitwell’s “Road Trip” rising from Tempo Rubato’s ‘Stuart & Sons’ grand piano. Williams captured the full potential of this beautiful instrument, leaving me in awe (multiple times throughout the evening) at the contrasting depth of power and sensitivity that could be drawn from the keys. The piece ended with a fluid flute cadenza, before the piano came crashing in, allowing the audience to enjoy the melody one last time. 

This was followed by the iconic first movement of Poulenc’s flute sonata. Played regularly amongst the flute community, I’m sure the context of this performance (uplifting and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community), would have been especially close to Poulenc’s heart.  Cage’s solo piano work “In a Landscape” was a major shift in mood. Williams’ interpretation was extremely evocative, striking a balance between maintaining its rigid rhythmic structure while allowing the trance-like melody to sing.

The first display of the duo’s compositional talents was McIntyre’s “Feathers Taking Flight.” The duo settled into their combined sound, with McIntyre’s rich tone meshing beautifully with Williams’ delicate piano introduction. This also marked the beginning of McIntyre’s confident display of the many extended techniques available to the flute, with the use of harmonics creating exciting bursts of colour throughout the melody. 

Bookending the first and second half were two world premiere performances for solo flute and tape. “Codifying Neutralities,” both written and played by McIntyre, delivered compelling commentary on the discriminatory language found in Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act (2010) and Pan’s “Pilot Q” was a “musical homage to every queer individual who has felt the need to prove that they deserve to be loved just as they are.” McIntyre has a natural affinity for the flute and electronics medium.  Across both pieces, they masterfully balanced moments of subtlety and power, tastefully dovetailing with the track in one moment and showcasing the flute’s explosive capacity in the next. 

After a vibrant performance of Barber’s “Excursions” (Op 20: Un poco allegro), the final three sharing’s saw the concert reach its peak. McIntyre’s tone was warm and open in Williams’ “chameleon on the wind,” creating numerous moments of magic through expressive timbral trills. Williams’ own solo piano work “Tarkine” was a masterpiece in storytelling, with both their performance and compositional choices creating vivid imagery of nature as an ever-changing entity. The night ended with McIntyre’s “Sky-Stained Waves.” The melody moved seamlessly between the two instruments for an energetic finish to an evening of intriguing discussion and evocative musical narratives.

 

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

4 events,

Featured -

Piano+ Place | Jim Moginie

- Event Series

Sydney Symphony Orchestra | Dalia Stasevska conducts Sibelius Fifth Symphony

2 events,

- Event Series

Sydney Symphony Orchestra | Dalia Stasevska conducts Sibelius Fifth Symphony

5 events,

3 events,

2 events,

4 events,

2 events,

6 events,

Featured -

BackStage Music | Trace

5 events,

Featured -

Thoroughbass | Set in Stone

4 events,

-

3MBS | NAIDOC Week Celebration

0 events,

2 events,

1 event,

2 events,

5 events,

Featured -

Thoroughbass | Set in Stone

Featured -

Piano+ Place | Sophie Hutchings

8 events,

4 events,

Featured -

Thoroughbass | Set in Stone

Featured -

Sydney Eisteddfod | Ballet Gala

1 event,

3 events,

2 events,

4 events,

4 events,

Featured -

Piano+ Place | David Bridie

7 events,

Featured -

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra | Rhapsody

7 events,

Featured -

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra | Rhapsody

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

3 events,

About The Author

Molly Jenkins

Molly Jenkins is a flautist, educator and arts administrator whose overarching passion lies in the ever-increasing use of music as a tool for both maintaining and healing mental health and wellbeing. Molly grew up on Latje Latje Country in Mildura where she was the three-time winner of the La Trobe University and Arts Mildura Woodwind Scholarship. She is now based on Wurundjeri Land in Melbourne’s North, where she completed her Bachelor of Music (with Honours) at the University of Melbourne under Derek Jones, Thomas Pinschof and Josh Batty. A passionate chamber musician and advocate for new music, Molly’s collaborations have found her performing at venues across Melbourne and regional Victoria. Since June 2023, Molly has held the role of Victorian Education Coordinator at Musica Viva and has recently expanded her work with the organisation as a Teaching Artist for their Music Education Residency Program.

Latest Posts