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Totally Huge New Music Festival 2013


 Da Contents H2

THNMF2013
October 14 2013
New music: celebration & angst
Matthew Lorenzon: Totally Huge New Music Festival overview


August 22 2013
The sound of reading
Matthew Lorenzon: David Toop with Decibel

August 18 2013
A pyrrhic revolt
Matthew Lorenzon: Latitude: Perspectives, WA Symphony Orchestra

THNMF2013
Complexity from simple tools
John Barton: ICMC, Percussion and Live Electronics

August 16 2013
Acoustic space: explicit object
Steve Paraskos: di Scipio, Curran


Pianos wired
John Barton: Works for piano and electronics

August 15 2013
Bridges and deviations
Matthew Lorenzon: di Scipio, Curran, Haco, Burt

August 14 2013
Madness, hell and transcendence
John Barton: Michael Kieran Harvey

Programming a grotesque order
Matthew Lorenzon: Michael Kieran Harvey

August 12 2013
A choreography of oscillation
Matthew Lorenzon: Speak Percussion, Robin Fox, Transducer

Explorers of an alien planet
John Barton: Speak Percussion, Robin Fox, Transducer

August 11 2013
Celestial sweet spots
Steve Paraskos, Haco, Ourobonic Plague, Barn Owl

Churches of sound
John Barton, Haco, Ourobonic Plague, Barn Owl

Eclectic ecstasies
Matthew Lorenzon, Haco, Ourobonic Plague, Barn Owl

 

Madness, hell and transcendence

John Barton: Michael Kieran Harvey

John Barton is a Perth-born composer, currently completing his post-graduate music studies at the University of Western Australia concurrent with Law. Having completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with Honours, John has a keen passion for both music and words."

 Michael Kieran Harvey, THNMF2013 Michael Kieran Harvey, THNMF2013
photo Brad Serls
Perth’s Government House Ballroom blazed with intensity as Michael Kieran Harvey performed a solo recital for the Totally Huge New Music Festival. Performing his own work for solo piano, Psychosonata (2012), and Melbourne-based composer Elliott Gyger’s Inferno (2013), an epic musical examination of Dante’s classic work, Harvey showed why he is one of the country’s leading contemporary classical pianists.

Psychosonata is a work that by the composer’s own admission has “no narrative.” However, while the piece may be devoid of melodic consistency, it is anything but devoid of colour and rhythmic flamboyance. Moving seamlessly between the three piano pedals, Harvey utilizes every tiny part of the piano’s timbre. With audible influences ranging from jazz to Elliot Carter, Harvey has created an engaging and interesting work that is demanding not only on the performer’s technical abilities, but also on the listener as the piece never holds a singular line of thought for long.

Psychosonata negotiates the depiction of a madman. However, what is most compelling is how much beauty emerges from this unpredictability. It is a beauty that perhaps reflects the madman in all of us who create meaning where none may actually exist.

Guided by Dante’s epic poem, Elliott Gyger’s Inferno depicts Hell in nine etudes, the scenes conjured by Harvey’s transcendental virtuosity. Gyger writes that the work is influenced by Romantic composer Franz Liszt; it is easy to associate it with that composer’s Années de Pèlerinage in terms of Inferno’s thematic movement and demands on pianistic skill.

Michael Kieran Harvey, THNMF2013 Michael Kieran Harvey, THNMF2013
photo Brad Serls
What is drastically different from Liszt however is the harmonic and rhythmic world that Gyger creates. Building on harmonic sonorities and then disassembling them with splintering dissonance, Inferno teases out the darkest colours of the piano at the extremes of its pitch ranges, relentlessly casting the listener into the dark and alien world of Hell. This hour long tour de force is a journey into an inescapable world of torment, which somehow remains coherent. Unlike Liszt, who tempered his fits of passion with the music of beautiful meadows and flowing mountain streams, Gyger flings us into the depths of Hell, from bursting flames into its most decrepit recesses.

Michael Kieran Harvey is nothing short of a national treasure, who should be recognized for not only his technical prowess but also for his humble support of new Australian works. This concert was no easy Sunday afternoon waltz, but it rewarded those willing to make the effort with a profound musical journey.


Totally Huge New Music Festival, A Celebration of New Australian Piano Music, Michael Kieran Harvey, Government House Ballroom, 11 September

John Barton is a Perth-born composer, currently completing his post-graduate music studies at the University of Western Australia concurrent with Law. Having completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with Honours, John has a keen passion for both music and words."

© John Barton; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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