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Australian Music

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Author Topic: Australian Music  (Read 670 times)
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« on: August 19, 2012, 03:18:01 pm »

Ross Edwards: The Heart of Night
Repost from UC

Riley Lee, Shakahuchi
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Paul Daniel, Conductor
26 Jan 2007,  (Radio Broadcast-)

1- Radio Intro
2.  The Heart of the Night
3.  Interview with Composer

From the collection of Karl Miller

This is some very mystical, meditative music- it seems to combine a part for a bass Shakuhachi (Japanese) flute, but much of the accompaniment reminds me of the free-metered Alap that opens a work of Hindustani classical music.  Whatever it is , I really like it, but you need to be in a contemplative mood.  One thing you''ll find out after the broadcast was that this work was performed in nearly complete darkness, until the last few bars which were performed in

Anyway, this seems to be the standard bio from his press kit:

Ross Edwards (b. 1943)
Australian composer Ross Edwards has created a unique sound world which seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore such qualities as ritual, spontaneity and the impulse to dance. His early teachers included Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale and Sandor Veress and he also studied with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in Australia and in London. Intensely aware of his vocation as a composer, he has largely followed his own path, rejecting most of the standard prerequisites for career development and depending on the music's ability to speak for itself. He gratefully acknowledges the award of two Keating Fellowships in the 1990s as having been crucial in his development

Edwards considers it his responsibility to make the most effective use of one of the planet's most potent forces to communicate vividly and widely at the highest possible artistic level. His music, whose global significance has been acknowledged, is at the same time deeply connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws many of its shapes and patterns - notably birdsong and the mysterious drones of summer insects. Edwards' belief in the healing power of music is reflected in a body of meditational works inspired by the Australian landscape.

Ross Edwards' compositions, which are performed worldwide, include symphonies, concertos, chamber and vocal music, children's music, film scores and music for dance. Works designed for the concert hall sometimes require special lighting, movement, costume and visual accompaniment. Recent works include the highly acclaimed oboe concerto Bird Spirit Dreaming, commissioned for the Sydney Symphony, whose U.S. premiere was given in February 2005 by Diana Doherty, Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic; and The Heart of Night, premiered in April 2005 by the shakuhachi master Riley Lee, Hiroyuki Iwaki and the Melbourne Symphony. His 5th Symphony - The Promised Land, with a text by David Malouf, will be given its world premiere in October 2006 by the Sydney Symphony and Sydney Children's Choir. Edwards' work has won numerous accolades and awards, the most recent of which, APRA/AMC's 'Best Orchestral Work for 2005', is for the ABC Classics recording of his Guitar Concerto by Karin Schaupp, Richard Mills and the Tasmanian Symphony.

Ross Edwards bases himself in Sydney where he lives with his wife Helen, spending as much time as possible working in his studio in the Blue Mountains. His music is mainly published by Ricordi London For more information and a complete catalogue of works and recordings, see his website

Finally, from his site, these are his notes for the work:

The Heart of Night (2004, rev. 2005)
For shakuhachi and orchestra

In 1995 I began to compose for the shakuhachi, a five-holed end-blown Japanese bamboo flute originally played by mendicant Buddhist priests. An apparently simple instrument, it’s capable, in the hands of a master performer, of an astonishing range of expression and colour. In the 18th century it flourished under the auspices of the Kinko school, whose legacy is a repertory of profound meditational solos known as honkyoku.

For years people had been observing that the phraseology of some of my more quiescent compositions, especially The Tower of Remoteness (1978) for clarinet and piano, recalls the classical honkyoku pieces. This had hap- pened naturally: I’d come to regard certain of my own works as musical contemplation objects and my source of inspiration was the timeless and mysterious continuum of the natural sound world, especially the insect chorus. And since these works were designed to focus attention inwards and create trance-like stillness, the similarity to the honkyoku was as inevitable as my being drawn to compose for the shakuhachi.

With Riley Lee’s encouragement I composed Raft Song at Sunrise (1995) for Riley to perform at an exhibition of Ross Mellick’s bamboo construction ‘Raft No. 3′ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in January 1996. Later that year Riley made an important contribution to my music for Bruce Beresford’s feature film Paradise Road. Our collaboration has continued over the years with such works as Tyalgum Mantras (1999), in which the shakuhachi is joined by didjeridu and percussion; and Dawn Mantras, my piece for Australia’s new millenium telecast to the world from the sails of the Sydney Opera House, which has solos for shakuhachi as well as saxophone, didjeiridu and child soprano.

Having combined the shakuhachi with voices and other instruments, the logical next step was to compose for shakuhachi and orchestra. The Heart of Night, commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony and Symphony Australia, explores the intuitive “night” mode of consciousness in which linear, or clock time is suspended and lis- teners are invited to turn their attention inwards in present-centered contemplation. This is not the sort of listening normally associated with western concert halls where symphonic dramas are played out. It’s actually the response you’d expect to the traditional honkyoku pieces which have the effect of relaxing the body while keeping the mind calmly alert. This capacity to still the unquiet mind has been universally recognised through the ages as one of music’s great blessings to humanity, but it’s been neglected in the western world in recent centuries. One cause for optimism in these turbulent times is that we’re beginning to rediscover its importance.

The Heart of Night was first performed in Hamer Hall, Melbourne, on 7 April 2005. The soloist was Riley Lee, to whom the work is dedicated, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Hiroyuki Iwaki.

« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 03:52:54 pm by the Administration » Report Spam   Logged

All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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