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Sept 15-25, 2011


 Da Contents H2

intro: thnmf 2011
December 13 2011
transcending the hear and now
gail priest: 10th totally huge new music festival & conference, perth


September 27 2011
familiar maps, new territories
gail priest: breaking out, young composers concert

thnmf 2011
sounding architecture, sculpting space
sam gillies: marina rosenfeld & decibel, teenage lontano, cannons


what remains: the sum of differences
henry andersen: residual, peter knight, dung nguyen, thnmf

September 21 2011
eugene ughetti, realtime video interview
artistic director, speak percussion, ensemble in residence, thnmf

marina rosenfeld, realtime video interview
composer in residence, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 20 2011
slippage of sound and sight
henry andersen: decibel, camera obscura

September 19 2011
movement and stasis
sam gillies: etica, twilight

September 18 2011
a language in process
henry andersen: club huge #2, pollen trio, pateras & riddoch

thnmf 2011
percussion maximal
sam gillies: speak percussion, flesh and ghost, thnmf


teased by the trickster
sam gillies: sonia leber and david chesworth, space-shifter installation

water, wind, earth, fire
gail priest: philip samartzis, desert, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 17 2011
playing the ghosts of history
henry andersen: piano tapestry, ross bolleter, mark gasser, anthony pateras, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 17 2011
the proximity of sounds
sam gillies: club huge #1: marina rosenfeld and julian day, thnmf

September 16 2011
expanding time, space and sounds
henry andersen: speak percussion, le noir de l’etoile, thnmf


in osborne park no one can hear you scream
gail priest: noizemachin!!, artifactory, thnmf

September 6 2011
totally huge new music festival 2011
preview

 

AN ANNUAL TRADITION OF THE TOTALLY HUGE NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL IS BREAKING OUT, A CHANCE FOR YOUNG COMPOSERS TO PRESENT RECENT COMPOSITIONS CHOSEN FROM SUBMISSIONS. THIS YEAR'S CONCERT PRESENTED 12 WORKS PRIMARILY FROM STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS (WAAPA), EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY. WHILE 12 WORKS MIGHT SEEM A LOT FOR A SINGLE CONCERT, THE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO STYLE AND FORM, AND THE VARYING LEVELS OF EXPLORATION ENSURED THE AUDIENCE A FULFILLING AND ENJOYABLE CONCERT.

First up was Red River for percussion, laptop and visuals by Sam Gillies (also one of the RealTime writers for Totally Huge 2011). While the drum and cymbal playing is spare it triggers a range of responses from the laptop, snatching sounds and transforming them into soft-edged pulsing phrases of saturated digital texture. The video depicts shifting monochrome washes resolving near the end to give the impression of skin—either that of a drum or perhaps human flesh. It's an interesting approach that doesn’t necessarily provide satisfying gestural and sonic syncs between acoustic, electronic and visual elements but rather allows them to co-exist in a unified yet differentiated atmosphere.

Sharon Wong's piece, Isolations, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano explored the thematic of its title. Starting with a clearly recognisable ascending/descending theme, the musicians fall out of sync with each other creating an atonal canon. At different points they each stop and move to another part of the room, literally starting out again on their own. Eventually they come back together, physically and musically ending on a single extended note. The harmonic angularities are challenging and it appeared a difficult piece to perform, going against the musicians' instinct to 'play together,' however it was bold in concept and form. It might be interesting to explore the physical isolation more fully by positioning the musicians at significant distances rather than the largely symbolic gesture of moving only a few steps away.

Tiffany Ha's composition offered another challenge to playing together. In String Quartet No. 1, she uses a Bach chorale but introduces anomalies: pitches sliding into dissonance; notes held in the middle of phrases creating stasis; and a final part in which it appeared each of the musicians must complete the section in differing time frames measured on their mobile phones. It was witty, well executed and genuinely surprising.

A similar playfulness was to be found in Jake Steele’s Hip Hop Symphony Spectacular for string quartet, brass and rhythm section. Scored for the largest ensemble this was perhaps the most ambitious piece of the night. Exploring the myth of Orpheus myth it shifted through a range of musical flavours with the flamboyance of a feature film score. Elizabeth Bonny also used a classical myth as source material in her work, Of Ten Parts, A Man Enjoys One Only [That’s What Tiresias Said], a jaunty piece for woodwinds, brass and percussion drawing on dub step rhythms which morph through a bolero style to end in a kind of bouncy Balkan revelry.

Kelly Curran presented the only jazz inflected piece of the evening with Deep Fry for piano, flute and percussion mashing together snippets of Bee Gees and House Martin songs with great agility. In Gareagre, Aaron Tuckey seemed almost cruel in the challenge he set his four clarinetists to play rapid ostinatos, constantly shifting lead melody between the players: a nice take on maximalist minimalism.

There were also two solo piano studies. Lament by John Mulligan explored a range of emotional territories from quiet and lyrical to strident. Kit Buckley’s Piece for Solo Piano worked with ideas of omission—the pianist free to choose to omit a note in a phrase, leaving a silence in its place—creating a quiet, spare piece reliant on phrasing for its gentle impact.

Suzanne Kosowitz presented Inveiglement for string quartet, percussion and tape. Originally the soundscore for a dance work the piece moves assuredly through a range of atmospheres with a sense of rhythmic fluidity. R E Smith’s Audio6—In Memory, also for string quartet, was a particularly lovely work. Led by a melancholic viola it traversed a range of emotional territories from exhilaration to devastation: a confident, accomplished and moving composition.

Mitchell Mollison’s Emulation 2: Trio employed digital technology but in a rather analogue manner. The three performers on saxophone, conga and guitar listen to a pre-composed piece and must re-create the sound as accurately as possible. I’m not sure if the instrumentation of the pre-set work is the same as here—this may make for an intriguing process of translation. The live instruments are used mostly for their timbral and textural rather than harmonic qualities, and this overall scumbling augmented by finger clicks and handclaps imbued the piece with a Beat poetry feel. It was also announced at the concert, that Mitchell Mollison was the recipient of the next Tura New Music Commission.

Given the overall scope of Totally Huge, the influence of various lecturers at local universities and the very wired-in nature of youth culture in general, I was a little surprised that there were so few compositions exploring technological devices and interaction. However, the works presented offered a real sense of exploration within their chosen styles. There was a strong feeling of playfulness and a sense of plasticity in the manipulation of classically inclined music modes that made for an evening of engaging and often challenging works by some very talented young composers.


Totally Huge New Music Festival 2011: Breaking Out, Young Composers Night, composers Sam Gillies, Sharon Wong, Jake Steele, Mitchell Mollison, John Mulligan, Rebecca Erin Smith, Aaron Tuckey, Kelly Curran, Elizabeth Bonny, Kit Buckley, Suzanne Kosowitz, Tiffany Ha, TURA Young and Emerging Artists Co-ordinator Chris de Groot; supported by Tura New Music, Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre, Sept 20; www.tura.com.au/totally-huge-music-festival/about

© Gail Priest; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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