The CD is named after the longest work on the recording, Elliott Hughes’ Despite Our Silent Elders. At just under 16 minutes this straightforward composition allows the stellar talents of Joel Brennan, trumpet, trombonist Don Immel and guitarist Ken Murray to enchant the listener with gorgeous tone and immaculate intonation. These three musicians are a composers’ dream in that they realise the music on the page to a level that frequently transcends the inherent quality of the conception.
Harry Sdraulig (b.1992) is seen by many as potentially an important composer on the Australian scene in the near future, and beyond, and it is great that Ensemble Three are running with a young composer at the early stage of the career. His Aubade is a sweet work that seems to have been written with the intention of pleasing the audience.
I have written before, in a concert review, of Andrew Ford’s Slow Air and it’s quality and this recording does not disappoint. Ford is a composer who thinks about the end result of his music before it starts on the journey. Stunning playing by the trio and Murray’s guitar work is mesmerising.
ddig hapus by Christian O’Brien is a work that did not engage me as the listener all that much, but for some it might be a good concert opener. It fits into a crossover category between a soft jazz and ‘environmental’ type film music. Similar ideas of music for film arise when listening to Jane Hammond’s Side B: Country Crow Shuffle.
Gorgeous trombone playing from Immel over simple and repetitive guitar arpeggi introduces UndercurrenT II by Katy Abbott. Again delightful and caring playing by the trio elevates this music from the page to music that can engage and please. Half way through the work the composer decides to emulate American funk/pop music of the late 1960’s. Some may find that section energising.
This really is a CD about the excellence of the performers and also for those who want to sample some of the directions in new music in Australia. It is an important document and much can be gained from purchasing Despite Our Silent Elders.
Excellent sound and production values let the music emanating from this important Melbourne-based group shine.