Ensemble Offspring are champions of new music and emerging composers. Hailing from Sydney, the ensemble has premiered more than 300 new works over their 25-year history.
Lead by percussionist Claire Edwardes, the ensemble includes Jason Noble (clarinet), Lamorna Nightingale (flutes), Véronique Serret (violin), Blair Harris (cello), Rowena McNeish (cello), Benjamin Kopp (piano), Zubin Kanga (piano) and Roland Peelman (conductor).
En Masse is their latest album, featuring new works by three Australian composers, Alex Pozniak, Holly Harrison and Thomas Meadowcroft. The three pieces were commissioned for Ensemble Offspring through their Noisy Egg Creation Fund. The album is accompanied by new video art, created by Cobie Orgers, Juan Withington and Andrew Morgan.
The album opens with its title track, Alex Pozniak’s En Masse. This work has a heavy, weighted, mass of sound, with the ensemble working together to create depth. There’s angular, disjointed rhythms with sharp brass melodies overtop. The piano rumbles on. Clarinet and flute start up a jazzy feel. The piece shifts to a slower second movement, before growing again for the third movement.
The second track is Holly Harrison’s bend/boogie/break, a boundary-pushing and genre-blurring composition. This piece uses glissando, pitch bends and slides in the strings to make a sound of bending and warping. This is juxtaposed with a boogie-like underlying funk bass and percussion. Throughout the piece, there is an intentional sense of sounds being bent out of shape, broken or not quite right.
The final track is Thomas Meadowcroft’s Medieval Rococo, a reflection on the human condition, art history, cultural memory, and the political economy of music. This piece has a contemplative and melancholy feel, with the instruments supported by a minimalist electronic backing track. The listener is carried away.
In all, En Masse is a throughly enjoyable and thought-provoking album, showcasing distinctive new works by emerging Australian composers. Take a listen today and support contemporary classical music creation.
En Masse is available for pre-sale now – PRE ORDER HERE
Launch Event – 23 March, 2021 | World Square Shopping Precinct | 7:30pm
This free event is presented as part of the Now You Hear Her program by BackStage Music.
Watch Ensemble Offspring’s live performance of En Masse
(Cover Art Photo and design by Dale Harrison, Photo 1 Keith Saunders, Photo 2 Elin Bandmann)