Contemporary Australian Piano
A valuable collection of Australian compositions for piano, by some of Australia's most respected and inventive composers and performed by pianist- composer, Larry Sitsky.
A disc of extreme contrasts, ranging from Keith Humble's fiery 'Sonatas 1 and 2' to the Joplinesque Mary Mageau's 'Elite Syncopations'. It includes Sitsky's own rhapsodic pieces 'Fantasia No. 1 and No. 4'; Helen Gifford's 'The Spell 'and 'Cantillation'; Lawrence Whiffin's 'Prelude', Haydn Reeder's 'Masks', Nigel Butterley's 'Uttering Joyous Leaves', John McCaughey's 'Five Small Pieces', Theodore Dollarhide's 'Ragings of a One Pot Screamer', Ann Ghandar's 'Eshelgharam', and Mark Pollard's 'Krebs'. A truly valuable collection!
Larry Sitsky's activities as a composer, pianist, writer, broadcaster and teacher place him inevitably to the fore among today's ambassadors of contemporary Australian piano music. Through his work to date he has made a significant contribution to the Australian music tradition.
“An essential disc”
— Greg Borrowman, Australian Hi-Fi
- Arch (Fantasia No. 4) Larry Sitsky 4:02
- Cantillation Helen Gifford 1:47
- Elite Syncopations Mary Mageau 2:09
- Prelude Lawrence Whiffin 7:36
- One 2:33
- Two 4:04
- Masks Hayden Reeder 9:27
- Uttering Joyous Leaves Nigel Butterley 4:21
- Five Small Pieces John McCaughey 6:25
- Ragings of a One Pot Screamer Theodore Dollarhide 10:40
- Eshelgharam Ann Ghandar 3:49
- Krebs Mark Pollard 5:38
- The Spell Helen Gifford 1:42
- Fantasia No. 1 (in memory of Egon Petrie) Larry Sitsky 6:25
Sonata Keith Humble
- Larry Sitsky · piano
Like Sculthorpe and Grainger before her, Australian composer Helen Gifford has found inspiration in the gamelan and Balinese music.
Composing in a large number of genres, Mary Mageau's catalogue includes works for symphony and string orchestra, chorus, ballet, theatre, solo instruments, various chamber ensembles and voice.
Lawrence Whiffin was born in Melbourne in 1930, and passed away in November 2012. He spent much of his life abroad. In 1976 Whiffin was appointed Senior Tutor at the Music Department of La Trobe University. This position entailed the teaching of harmony, counterpoint, analysis, form and fugue, and gave him the chance to compose more concert music.
In 1977, Keith Humble won the National Critics Award as the most outstanding recitalist working in Australia and he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to music in 1982. He was a constant champion of Australian contemporary music and Percy Grainger.
Melbourne-based composer Haydn Reeder considers that strong influences have also come from contact with musicians such as Alfred Brendel, Harrison Birtwistle and Gyorgy Ligeti.
Since the 1960s Butterley has produced a significant body of work, including a violin concerto, orchestral pieces, vocal and chamber works. As a pianist, Butterley has specialised in the performance of contemporary music and lesser-known works from other periods.
John McCaughey is perhaps better known as a conductor of the Astra Chamber Music Society than as a composer.
As a composer Theodore Dollarhide developed a close working relationship with local Melbourne goups and performers, especially Elision, receiving many commissions and performances.
Recently Ann Ghandar has been working on a refinement and simplifying of her compositional style, which has been assisted by the inspiration she received from Middle Eastern music. Her greatest wish is to give to others the joy that she herself receives from music.
Currently teaching composition at the Victorian College of the Arts, Mark Pollard completed a Masters degree at La Trobe University and has been awarded several prizes.
Where to buy
This recording project has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.