Church of All Nations
180 Palmerston Street
For tickets call Astra on (03) 9326 5424, or
choir – wind quintet – solo voice – solo piano
Music by Lawrence Whiffin (publication launch) with new works from Italy and Australia by George Dreyfus, Jenny Barnes, John Arthur Grant, Daniele Locatelli, Riccardo Vaglini, Gianandrea Pauletta, Eve Duncan, Kym Dillon, Kathryn Sadler, Brendan Colbert
The composer Lawrence Whiffin (1930-2012) was well known as colleague and teacher of many musicians associated with Astra and the broader community of contemporary music in Australia. His own wide experience as a musician extended from a European training in the techniques of the Schoenberg school to popular music forms and a varied cultural life that included many years working in France and Italy.
Some of this variety of styles and geography underlies Lawrence Whiffin’s third commemorative concert in the Astra series, following his death in 2012. The program also marks the launching of the first of a series of published scores of Whiffin’s music, with a performance of his witty and brilliant Mother Goose Rhymes, performed by soprano Merlyn Quaife with Kim Bastin (piano).
Whiffin’s multi-country interests are celebrated in new works from Australian and Italian composers across different generations, most of them receiving their first performances in this concert. A kaleidoscope of musical forces joins in the celebration – choir, woodwind instruments, solo voice and solo piano. Australia’s senior composer George Dreyfus, in a new work from this year, creates a continuous animation of wind quintet sounds with female chorus as an environment for Francis of Assisi’s words in praise of the teeming forms of Nature.
Six other composers from the two countries have written choral pieces especially for this concert – the four Australians John Arthur Grant, Kathryn Sadler, Eve Duncan and Kym Dillon showing a palette of choral styles, joined by the characteristic sonic colour, respectively radiant and dark, of Italian composers Gianandrea Pauletta (Veneto) and Daniele Locatelli (Friuli).
Further premiered works on the program enter the domain of solo theatre, with Brendan Colbert’s work for pianist Peter Dumsday, Joy Lee’s interpretation of Riccardo Vaglini’s piano lament for the daughter of Janacek, and Jenny Barnes’ solo vocal performance with computer voice, reflecting her experiences singing with asylum seekers held in detention by our country.
The Astra Choir conducted by John McCaughey
with guests: Merlyn Quaife (soprano)
Sarah Beggs (flute), Michael Pisani (oboe), Craig Hill (clarinet), Robert Shirley (horn), Elise Millman (bassoon)
Kim Bastin, Peter Dumsday, Joy Lee (piano)