I’ve been to a feast of music combining with visual arts recently and it is an excellent combination, not just because of the creative collaboration, but because they combine to create an excellent space to be surrounded and absorbed in the music you’re hearing.
The Watters Gallery was a special space for this concert. Alan Holley was hosting the launch of his CD Hammerings and artwork by the same artist as the cover artwork was hanging upstairs. The space also had an echoing sound which was quite flattering for the musicians.
The energy in the gallery on arrival was filled with anticipation and the sense of celebration was held throughout the concert. All the musicians were genuinely excited to be performing and there were stories from them and Alan interspersed between the music. The interaction really connected the stage and the audience.
The first work, Two Fires Suite was introduced by the composer Christine Draeger. It was based on 5 poems by Judith Wright and excellently performed by flutist, Melissa Coleman. The only other work in the concert not by Alan, was the micro tonal work by Giacinto Scelsi Et maintenant c’est a vous de jouer. I’d not heard it before and found it quite intriguing and captivating.
All of Alan’s works were for solo performance and provided an excellent example of how one composer can have ‘a sound’ across instruments that is similar and unique for each work.
Dome Music (double bass) and Mariner Music (clarinet) had similar structure and I found they both started with a few streams of thoughts and then drew me in with a greater connection as they were performed. These works were broken up by the challenging Hammerings II for oboe which was wonderfully performed by Shefali Pryor.
The finale Auric performed by Greg van der Struik on trombone was a real tour de force. It really showed the diversity of sound that the trombone can produce, with a journey that you could feel yourself going on with Greg’s performance. It was an excellent finale to a celebratory concert.
A concert of new music | Watters Gallery, East Sydney | 9 May 2015
Stay up to date with Alan Holley’s work on his facebook page: