Gardener of Time is a CD recorded at the concert given to celebrate the 75th birthday of Barry Conyngham, the well known Contemporary Australian composer. Barry has a huge list of academic achievements, the most recent being his decade as Dean of Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne. He has a great pedigree having been taught by Peter Sculthorpe and Toru Takemitsu and his close friendship with the latter and conductor Hiroyuki Iwaki has provided a far eastern influence on his compositions.
The CD consists of seven works reflecting differing aspects of the composer’s style. I particularly enjoyed Kangaroo Island, a concerto for Double Bass invoking different aspects of one of his favourite locations – the Caves with Bats interlude is sublimely peaceful while the Skyline-Bees finale emphasises the working aspect of the Ligurian bees endemic to the island rather than Rimsky Korsakov‘s emphasis on flight. In Patrick Suskind’s play “Double Bass” the lone actor bemoans that the only concerto for his instrument is by Dittersdorf. No longer though, and the five movements really show off the dexterity of the instrument played so well by Robert Nairn as well as highlighting the attractions of the island.
The title piece is taken from an essay by Takemitsu based on a poem by Australian teenager Susan Morrison including the lines ‘”Hours are the leaves of life – And I am their gardener- Each hour falls down slow.” Beautiful, and the music reflects this with solo violin and oboe passages and a timpani solo for Iwaki’s favoured instrument.
Darwin, commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of “The Origin of Species” is part of a collaboration with other composers and features mezzo-soprano Linda Barcan.
This CD provides an hour and a half of fascinating, original and engaging music from one of Australia’s most revered composers whose music though modern in idioms is nonetheless very approachable to the average listener.
Find this CD at MOVE RECORDS