Music / The Music Firm, “Songs from the Coronary heart”. At Larry Sitsky Recital Room, October 4. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.
“SONGS from the Coronary heart” is a set of songs composed by two feminine First Nations composers, Elizabeth Sheppard and Sonya Holowell, with the texts of the songs partially primarily based on excerpts from the Uluru Assertion from the Coronary heart.
The songs are grouped in 5 sections, or maybe actions, with every composer contributing to every part.
The compositional kinds of the 2 ladies are fairly totally different.
Sheppard’s music is extra melodic, with ideas of contemporary liturgical music, whereas Holowell’s work is decidedly extra fashionable with semi-tone dissonances and abrupt shifts of tempo. The primary three of the 5 sections used Sheppard’s gentler music for the primary elements, then ending with Holowell’s confrontational music.
Holowell’s contributions to the 2 remaining actions have been decidedly much less angular and never as nice a distinction because the songs within the earlier sections.
The composers had the benefit of writing for eight very expert singers, with Holowell as a part of the efficiency group. Having eight voices permits for some wondrously complicated chords over a number of octaves, with the excessive soprano of Susannah Lawergren hovering above the ensemble in most of the songs. Singling Lawergren out is maybe unfair, because the singing was very good from all of the singers with the scoring permitting all an opportunity to be heard with tenor Elias Wilson and soprano Holowell taking most of the leads (although not a lot in her personal songs!).
For creative director Antony Pitts, that is his final tour main the ensemble after seven years on the helm. He has actually modified the course of the Music Firm over that point and there have been some memorable performances, this one included. They’ve all been totally different and at all times intriguing.
Whether or not or not a set of songs can affect the upcoming referendum across the Uluru Assertion’s request for a Voice may be mentioned, however you wish to suppose it would. It’s a highly effective creative touch upon, and response to, the Uluru Assertion and deserves to heard extra extensively than by 30 individuals on a Tuesday night time within the dry acoustic of the Larry Sitsky recital room. It wants a bigger, extra reverberant house and a bigger viewers to be immersed on this superb work.
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Ian Meikle, editor