by Claire Edwardes
Love List is a Spotify series where we ask friends of the Opera House to curate a playlist dedicated to a subject of their choice.
This week, to celebrate Ensemble Offspring's Mesmerism concertfeaturing in our Digital Season, Artistic Director and lead percussionist Claire Edwardes picks her favourite composers of 'art music' that have inspired her and the Mesmerism program.
My Love List begins with the works included in Ensemble Offspring's Mesmerism program and is themed around the style of all of those works – something along the lines of electro-acoustic-minimal art music. With works from Australia and around the world, these unique sound worlds are often lush and vast with a minimal grounding that we can all relate to.
This is cutting edge stuff from around the world with a sonic hook at every turn to inspire you.
▷ How About Now - Nico Muhly
"Nico was in Sydney last year and we all really enjoyed getting to know him – he is an energetic and passionate soul plus a crazy good composer. This is the first work of his that Ensemble Offspring has performed and it will be a special part of our Mesmerism show."
▷ Pale as Centuries - Sarah Kirkland Snider
"We arranged this version of New York composer Sarah Kirkland Sniders' quintet for a Sizzle performance at Petersham Bowlo a few years ago and the crowds loved it so we thought we’d include it in Mesmerism and revisit this wonderful work."
▷ Mesmerism - Paul Mac
"Paul Mac, Jessica Wells and Ensemble Offspring all collaborated to arrange this piece which was originally released as an exclusively electronic track. Tune in to our Mesmerism show to hear our electro acoustic version and in the meantime enjoy the original!"
▷ Love in Solitude - Andrea Keller
"A shout out to Melbourne-based composer Andrea Keller and the Myer Family who commissioned the work. All of them are going through lockdown hell in Victoria right now! We have performed this piece all over the world and the backing track was made using samples of us in the studio alongside touching recitations of a Rilke poem, Love in Solitude."
▷ Tardigradus - Melody Eotvos
"Melody is another Melbourne-based composer (we are thinking of you too) who wrote this piece for Lamorna and I a few years back. It was originally for Chinese rice bowls and flutes but the new version we will perform as part of Mesmerism uses vibraphone instead."
▷ A.A.C - Yannis Kyriakides
"Yannis is an Amsterdam-based composer of Cypriot heritage whose music I adore. I collaborated many times with him during my seven years in Holland and this piece, while not being one I have performed before, really captures the ictus of electronic and acoustic sound worlds that inspire me deeply at the moment."
▷ Clique - Damien Ricketson
"Damien is my ex co Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring and a dear friend and colleague. This trio is from a work we all developed together called The Secret Noise and it uses the accordion, here played by the virtuoso James Crabb – but in later versions taken on by myself and Bree van Reyk in various iterations. Many laughs were had about the fact that we were both terrible at this instrument compared to James!"
▷ Vermont Counterpoint - Steve Reich
"I created this version of Vermont Counterpoint for a Sydney Festival recital – I had to record all 12 parts on xylophone and vibraphone and it was a gruelling recording session. But once Bob Scott and I had mixed all the tracks it certainly turned into a very satisfying live performance experience for me!"
▷ Continuum - Gyorgy Ligeti
"Bree van Reyk and I performed our own version of this Ligeti classic on marimbas at Sydney Festival a while back. Returning to the original harpsichord version for this playlist was certainly a wild ride – this piece is absolutely insane and Ligeti is a true revolutionary composer of the 20th century."
▷ Inhale Exhale - Anna Meredith
"I met Anna Meredith last year in Rotterdam, at Classical:NEXT – she is a very humble soul despite having just been honoured with a Queens MBE and being insanely popular! She is an interesting composer to me in that she writes effectively for instrumentalists but also heads her own band and often integrates electronica into her concert works. Also, have a listen to her version of the Four Seasons, Anno, which the ACO were meant to be touring this year – it is great!"
▷ Orizzonte - Missy Mazzoli
"Missy is another inspiring female composer doing big things in the USA right now. She was one of the first two women composers to ever receive a commission from The Met and like Anna Meredith, she fronts her own band, Victoire. Zubin Kanga performed this at Kontiki Racket last year and this piece gets me every time with its simplicity and depth."
▷ Yours Deer Heart - Tilman Robinson
"Tilman Robinson is the brother of my dear friend Mel Robinson (a cellist in Perth) and a guy doing really interesting things at the meeting points of acoustic and electronic music at the moment. He is working a lot with the Australian Art Orchestra at the moment and is another Melbourne composer who I’d like to shout out to right now!"
▷ Detone Retune - Juan Felipe Waller
"My dear old friend Juan Felipe Waller is a Berlin-based Mexican composer who I studied with in Rotterdam. Ensemble Offspring commissioned this piece from him to feature me on percussion (including some cool ceramic tile action) and he travelled to Sydney to work with us on it prior to this recording. The tiles have an unusual timbre, which when played in a tone row comes very close to an electronic sound world."
▷ Philomel - Juliet Fraser
"Juliet Fraser is a wonderful singer based in the UK who specialises in hardcore cutting-edge new music from the best composers in the world. This is one of her own compositions, which I find ethereal and stunning."
▷ Stories for Ocean Shells - Kate Moore
"Kate Moore is another old friend and longtime collaborator - she is Australian but based in Amsterdam. This is my all time favourite work by her for cello solo and pre-recorded cello, written for and performed here by Ashley Bathgate of Bang on a Can fame."
▷ Trumpet, Laptop, Amplifier - Peter Knight
"Peter Knight is the AD of the Australian Art Orchestra but also a wonderful composer and trumpet player. We collaborated together on an Acoustic Life of Sheds project near Burnie in Tasmania (big Hart) a few years ago and his work with looping technique, revox and other electronica have really inspired me in recent years. Another shout out to Peter who is in Melbourne doing it tough right now!"
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