Michael Kieran Harvey
Six decades of Australian piano music originally performed at Astra Music Society concerts
This CD captures a concert of Australian piano music given in celebration of Astra's support of Australian music and artists. For 60 years the Astra Chamber Music Society has presented new Australian music and Australian performers within a context of international new music developments, always informed by cultural perspectives.
The selection of pieces represent each of the decades since the 1950s with an array of six piano works - including a guard of welcome in this century to Lawrence Whiffin's Piano Sonata No.3 in its first performance, composed for Michael Kieran Harvey in 2010, the composer's eightieth year. The seven composers of the program are linked in a web of musical and personal ties, through their multiple contributions to Astra concerts, their relations to the performer, and their connections with Lawrence Whiffin and with the former Music Department at La Trobe University, where he spent a substantial part of his life as teacher.
At the same time, the works show a spectrum of changing times in the wider musical world. The sonata with its discursive tradition is heard in three different guises, as a frame around other approaches to sound and form in the other three pieces -the piano as vehicle for individual or aphoristic utterances, or for more continuous, monolithic energies.
Keith Humble, Sonata no. 1 (1959)
Helen Gifford, Three Pieces (1966)
Warren Burt, In Memoriam Carl Ruggles: Aardvarks II (1971)
Mark Pollard, Krebs (1983)
Marguerite Boland, Two Miniatures (1994)
Tom Henry, Piano Sonata (2006)
Lawrence Whiffin, Piano Sonata no. 3 (2011)