2012 Quotes & Reviews

“the best I ever heard the piece played. Really, I’m serious. It really is. It absolutely is.” – Steve Reich commenting on the performance of Music for 18 Musicians in ‘Steve Reich: A Celebration’ with Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Offspring, Halcyon and Eighth Blackbird.

“an air of risk-taking pervaded the concert. The unusual sound sources such as megaphones, 78rpm recordings, buckets, bottles and sandpaper were better appreciated in solos and duos where the audience could closely watch the performers”

“Veronique Serret on violin and Zane Banks on guitar matched the sincerity of the music without lapsing into sentimentalism, leaving the work’s emotion to the persistence of each ringing note”

“The magical aura of the performance was only increased by the kick-drum hidden under the table that suddenly began to punctuate the spell.”

“The unreliability of Mülayim’s glove-bells made me think of how safe our concert experiences are and how little we expect to go wrong. There is no sense that the virtuoso violinist is really walking a tightrope in that cadenza, or that the ensemble might miscount that 16:23 bar to disastrous effect. Bringing a bit of danger into the concert hall was Ensemble Offspring’s great triumph.” Full review here

Matthew Lorenzon, RealTime (New Radicals)
“Ensemble Offspring were both creators and destroyers in this concert of new works by sonic inventors from around the world.”

“Ekrem Mulayim’s and we chart the topography of a moment dropped percussionist (and Ensemble Offspring artistic director) Claire Edwardes into the deep end of new music, not just learning new notes, but a whole new instrument. . The work required her to wear hand-crocheted gloves with built-in chimes on each digit which sounded with the tiniest of movements, demanding dexterity reminiscent of Thai dancers’ gestures. It was a miniature masterpiece, and watching the dogged concentration on Edwardes’s face was almost as fascinating as listening to the interplay of tiny bright sounds.” Full review here

Harriet Cunningham, Sydney Morning Herald (New Radicals)
“Percussionist and co-artistic director Claire Edwardes says the group’s members were drawn together by a love of playing different music and refusing to be “held prisoner” to classical interpretations.

“There’s a lot of tradition that goes with (classical music) and our performers prefer to look forward to new things, work with people and, in a way, mould the music of the future instead of looking to the past,” she says. “We specialise in works written in our lifetime. What we’ve tried to do in the last 10 years is make it more accessible and a bit more fun.”

There is chit-chat between the players and audience during the show and, if you don’t like a particular tune, don’t worry – it won’t be on for long.” Full article here

Melissa Matheson, Daily Telegraph
Tristan Murail’s Garrigue named after “a type of shrub-like vegetation often found in mediterranean France was an ideal opener for Ensemble Offspring’s Silva: Natural Music concert, generating unexpected sound worlds from acoustic instruments. The program included four works from three female Australian composers—Mary Finsterer, Rosalind Page, Melody Eötvös—who likewise intrigued and thrilled us with approaches at once formal and experimental.

Suddenly our perspective shifts, from open space to something more internal, dark and primal powerfully conjured by percussion alone with heavy motifs and evocative detail. The other instruments enter, thickening the ‘forest’ air, the piano fast and ‘minimal,’ before a high rippling bell and bowed vibes finally lead us out.

Of course, Ensemble Offspring delivered superb performances of all these works, not least the three world premieres by female composers in yet another impressive concert nurturing new works that will enrich and expand the Australian musical landscape. Full review here

Keith Gallasch, RealTime (Silva)
“For In C, the six-strong Bang on a Can were joined by six members of Sydney’s Ensemble Offspring in a combination similar to the New York group’s 2001 CD of the work but without a pipa (sometimes called the Chinese lute). Realised by musicians ever alert to each other, the hour-long performance in The Studio was perpetually engaging, displaying a remarkable range of nuanced collective modulation, while individual voices and sudden pairings rose briefly above the communal pulse such that the weave of notes always remained whole, an embracing but ever changing mantra.” Full review here
Keith Gallasch, RealTime (John Cage Centenary)
“…two of the ensemble’s core members, Claire Edwardes playing vibraphone and hi hat, with Jason Noble on clarinets. While this combination of instruments may have appeared odd to the almost full stalls, something more likely to be heard at The Basement or Bennet’s Lane, there is no doubt the enthusiastic audience were, by hour’s end, convinced otherwise. The timbre of all instruments blended impeccably well, underscoring the confidence of the composers, all contemporary, who wrote works included in the eclectic program. It might have been sub-billed as a degustation menu.” Full review here
John of Oz blog (A Little Lunch Music)