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Butterfly Modernism

This is composer Eve Duncan’s third release, a 2-CD set, and it heralds new approaches in her music.

Architectural plans of beach houses near Melbourne have been used to create distinctive sound qualities. Cross-media collaboration with photography addresses environmental issues concerning the dredging of the bays near Melbourne. Since the premiere of Buddha on Mars by the National Symphony of Thailand in 2005, Eve’s ongoing engagement with Asian-Pacific music has now extended to the distinctive Korean kayageum.
Eve’s composition awards include the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition (Greece), Recital Music Double Bass Composition Competition (England) and the International Modern Music Award for Composition (Vienna). She has served on the Executive Committee of the Asian Composers League and is a past Chairman of the Melbourne Composers League. She completed a Master of Music Composition at the University of Melbourne, Honours in Composition at Latrobe University and is currently a Doctoral candidate at the University of Western Sydney.


Eve Duncan

Eve Duncan has composed chamber, orchestral and vocal music, and her work has been presented in many festivals in Australia, Asia and Europe.

Silo String Quartet

Silo String Quartet was founded by cellist and composer Caerwen Martin in 1998. Their influences include Kronos String Quartet, Contemporary Australian, Asian and American repertoire.

Michael Kieran Harvey

Australian pianist and composer, Dr Michael Kieran Harvey FAHA, 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.

Danae Killian

Danaë Killian is an Australian pianist whose performances have found regard internationally for their intense originality and rare communicative power. Her repertoire ranges across the complete solo piano music of the Second Viennese School, major polyphonic works by JS Bach, and a wealth of Australian compositions.

Press quote

“The third collection of chamber works of Eve Duncan, this double CD features works mostly written within the last ten years and demonstrating a new style of composition for the composer.

Almost all of the works in the collection have at least one string instrument. Many of the works in the collection are performed by the Silo String Quartet with additional featured solo instruments (piano, trombone, voice).

Extra-musical factors dominate the composition process, with influence drawn from architectural designs, landscapes, photographs, philosophical, political and ecological issues …in the development of this new approach, Duncan’s implementation of process often results in short sparse gestures punctuated by empty space, often without obvious repetition or development. This style contrasts markedly with that of her first two CD collections and, indeed, the couple of earlier pieces on this CD, with their longer connected phrases and quasi-modal constraints. An enduring influence for Duncan has been the music of eastern Asia, and while the influence is less obvious here than in her earlier recorded works, it could be said that the aesthetic of eastern Asian music informs her use of gesture in this newer style. The influence is most obvious in the piece The Titans, written for flute, viola and Korean zither (the gayageum) with its emphatic use of pentatonicism. The sound of the gayageum is intriguing —darker than either the Japanese koto or the Chinese guzheng.

Similarly interesting is the piece Dredge, for percussion quartet, written as a collaboration with photographer Siri Hayes. Performed by Speak Percussion, the two movements contrast each other in their instrumentation, with the pure sounds of bells and gongs against the sounds of fishing sinkers, shells, bottles and steel drums. The piece serves as an environmental comment on the dredging of Port Phillip Bay, but also as an allegory for the uncovering of layers.

Her Four Blackboard Pieces, for piano quintet, performed by Danae Killian with the Silo String Quartet, are musical responses to two blackboard drawings made by Austrian education theorist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner. The four movements create contrasting textures from different sections of the blackboard drawings, responding to the use of colour and visual texture in the drawings...This is certainly an interesting collection of pieces demonstrating Eve Duncan’s current compositional strategies in chamber music.”

Read full review

— Anthony Linden Jones, Music Trust Website

Track Listing

  1. The Butterfly House Eve Duncan 7:07
  2. Butterfly Modernism Eve Duncan 10:13
  3. Madonna and Child with Goldfinch Eve Duncan 6:57
  4. Below the Star Stretched Sky Eve Duncan 4:49
  5. The Titans Eve Duncan 4:59
  6. Welcome Eve Duncan 6:55
  7. Seahorses Eve Duncan 4:15
  8. Time and the Tides Eve Duncan 10:16

Disc 2

  1. Wave to the Depths II Eve Duncan 12:17
  2. The Submerging City Eve Duncan 4:23
  3. Europa Eve Duncan 4:28
  4. Dissolving Atoms: Freedom and Love Eve Duncan 3:06
  5. Wisdom, Will, Love Eve Duncan 4:01
  6. The Arc of the Day Eve Duncan 4:13
  7. Why People Love the Rose Eve Duncan 2:44
  8. Dynamis Eve Duncan

  9. I. Maestoso con Vaghezza 5:49
  10. II. Slancia Vivace 3:09
  11. III. Scherzando 3:29
  12. Iceland Eve Duncan 12:49


Where to buy

Butterfly Modernism is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
It's available for streaming through Apple Music.

Butterfly Modernism is available as as CD. It can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Total playing time
115 minutes 59 seconds
Release date
April 2013
© 2013 Eve Dncan
℗ 2013 Move Records
Catalogue number
MD 3362
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574336221