Dancing to the Tremors of Time
A collection of music reflecting the art of Mona – eclectic, surreal and powerful. Michael Kieran Harvey performs new works by seven Australian composers.
The binding element in all the music on this CD is the concept of surrealism as music. Music is notoriously difficult to pin down in a representational way, but, happily, so is surrealism, as it is more a philosophical strategy than an art movement.
The title work, Dancing to the Tremors of Time, is indeed the title of an Australian painting by Gleeson given this surrealist categorisation, and Colbert creates a metaphorical sonic universe of the image by equating non-sequitur melodic fragments to the disturbingly truncated and deformed figurations of Gleeson’s painting.
Following on from this, the sonatas by McIntyre and Kay, though entirely different in language, but nevertheless like the surrealists in approach, rebel against the establishment by taking opposite stances: one anti-programmatic, and one strenuously representational.
Gyger achieves a quiet grandeur in his use of interweaved minimal cyphers, not unlike the delicate linear narratives of Kandinsky, while Drake and Friedel evoke familiar worlds of sorrow and abandonment similar to those of Hopper’s Diner paintings and Vasarely’s explosive op-art.
Collins, with his stylised jazz idiom, completes the rebellion by fully notating an improvised art into that most archaic and dry musical form, the prelude and fugue, achieving a witty fluidity despite his restrictions reminiscent of Dali’s vagina piano paintings.
Michael Kieran Harvey is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation. A champion of Australian music and himself a composer, he regularly commissions new Australian music and has performed with Australia's leading contemporary music ensembles and orchestras.
- Michael Kieran Harvey · piano
Brendan Colbert was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1956. After moving to Melbourne in the 1970s, he worked with various progressive-rock bands as keyboard player and songwriter, and during the 1980s studied composition with Brenton Broadstock and Riccardo Formosa.
Dr Scott McIntyre studied French Horn at the Victorian College of the Arts in orchestral performance and composition from 1988-90, before continuing studies with Brenton Broadstock and graduating with a Bachelor of Music in music composition from the University of Melbourne in 1993.
Don Kay has composed much music for professional individuals, ensembles, young performers, amateur groups, theatre, concert and public occasions. Over time his music has increasingly resulted from response to the Tasmanian landscape, ecology and history.
Elliott Gyger was born in Sydney, and has been writing music since about the age of ten. His compositional and research interests include the creation of a purely musical sense of drama and narrative, and the multilayered interplay of music and text.
Elizabeth Drake is a composer and sound artist for theatre, film, dance and radio. Her latest work is the award-winning soundtrack to the film Japanese Story.
Martin Friedel came to Australia with his family from Germany as a child in the 1950s. His family settled in Narbethong, a small saw milling settlement on the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and he went on to complete degrees in physics and mathematics and a PhD in chemistry from Melbourne University.
Australian composer Brendan Collins grew up in the city of Newcastle. He studied trombone and composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Ron Prussing, Arthur Hubbard and George Golla, whose teaching he found invaluable. In 1984 he won a scholarship to study in Los Angeles with Ralph Sauer, principal trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.