ROSS HARRIS (b.1945): Variation 25, JOHN PSATHAS (b.1966): Abhisheka, JACK BODY (b.1944): 3 Transcriptions, MICHAEL NORRIS (b.1973): Exitus, GARETH FARR (b.1968)/RICHARD NUNNS (b.1945): He Poroporoaki (A Farewell).
Catalogue Number: 08O077
Reference: ACD 118
Description: Psathas' work was inspired by Buddhist philosophy, and by the composer's admission is an uncharacteristic attempt to write slow, meditative, inward-looking music. Microtonal gliding clusters are interspersed with highly decorated melodic lines, the whole captured in an aura of artificial reverberation, per the composer's instructions. Harris adds layers of canonic imitation to the 25th of Bach's Goldberg Variations, increasingly diverging from the original a the piece progresses. Body's work reimagines folk idioms and instruments from China, Madagascar and Bulgaria in terms of the string quartet, producing exotic timbres and tunings (with vocalizations and percussive effects as appropriate) that allow the listener to imagine what the original ethnomusicological recodings must have sounded like, even for those unfamiliar with the folk musics in question. Norris' four movements evoke eschatological myths from four cultures around the world - consoling, nightmarish, or stages in a spiritual journey - in sculptural, textured sonic impressions that employ a range of unconventional effects and techniques. The Nunns/Farr collaboration features the composers on primitive instruments that add color to an elegiac dirge in memory of ANZAC troops who died in the Gallipoli campaign.