Music with the stars

RealTime

Rosalind Page’s Macula lutea, dedicated to flautist Kathleen Gallagher, was inspired by the artwork and writings of Wassily Kandinsky. “Envisaged as an allegory of light, time and colour, the piece draws not only from the visual arts but also from concepts arising in the fields of astronomy, opthalmology and analytical trigonometry”. The work shared the prize at the 1999 Sydney Spring Music Festival for the Most Outstanding New Composition. In the scheme of things Rosalind Page’s reward came with the accolades of her peers. She added the award to her CV and moved on to the next composition. Another world premiere, another good Australian idea shelved for posterity.

However, along with an increasing number of composers and musicians, Rosalind Page is interested in presenting new music beyond the one-off premiere in second, third and more performances. As well as wanting to reach a wider audience, they are anxious to explore different arrangements, to include other instruments. She says, “A composition should be like the cosmos—in a constant state of evolution and flux.”

In Celestial Sites and Sounds, an evening of compositions with astronomical and cosmological connections, Sydney audiences have a chance to hear new work by Australian composers including a piece for amplified solo cello by Damien Ricketson. As well as revisiting Macula lutea, Rosalind Page contributes Extrema: A Galilean Sarabande—a hypothetical journey to Jupiter, accompanied by Kandinsky and Bach, composed for cellist Geoffrey Gartner. She also sets to music two poems by the Surrealist Apollinaire. Nathan Wilson’s new solo piano piece, Heartbroken Glass, will be performed by Clemens Leske and another composition winner of Most Outstanding Composition at the Sydney Spring Festival of 1998, Ian Shanahan, presents his work for alto flute Dimensiones Paradisi. The program also includes works by Peter Sculthorpe and Claude Debussy.

Weather permitting, the audience is invited to continue the astronomical adventure after the performance as Jupiter and Saturn put on their nightly show at Sydney Observatory, a short walk from Bangarra Dance Theatre. RT

Celestial Sights and Sounds, Bangarra Dance Theatre, March 4, 7.30pm

RealTime issue #41 Feb-March 2001 pg. 32

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1 February 2001