Treize couleurs du soleil couchant by the French composer Tristan Murail is a beautiful sonic metaphor for the setting sun. Like watching a sunset, the work imperceptibly draws the listener through slowly transforming colours of seemingly infinite depth and subtlety. Murail, like Messiaen and Debussy before him, is part of a legacy of French music that displays a refined sensibility for colour. Together with compatriot Gérard Grisey (whose work Talea is featured in the concert), he is credited with establishing an entirely new school of composition called ‘spectral music’. Just as light can be broken into a spectrum of colours, so too a rich sound can be broken into a kaleidoscope of microscopic frequencies.
Continuing the theme of light is Fatamorgana (‘mirage’ or ‘optical illusion’) written especially for Ensemble Offspring by the esteemed Australian composer Bozidar Kos. Kos is one of a small handful of Australian composers to follow the spectral techniques introduced by Grisey and Murail. The program also features a world premiere by the recently returned Australian composer Christopher Tonkin, a graduate of the famous IRCAM institute in Paris and UC San Diego. Given the spectral movement’s vast influence in contemporary music world wide, the seminal repertoire by Murail and Grisey is seldom heard in Australia. Ensemble Offspring’s ‘Thirteen Colours’ is a rare opportunity to hear this unique and engaging music.
Presented in association with the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Australian Music Centre.
Tristan Murail – Treize Couleurs du soleil couchant
Bozidar Kos – Fatamorgana
Christopher Tonkin – Widdop, Phaetons, Relic [2009 rev]
Gérard Grisey – Talea
John Luther Adams – Roar (The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies) Sydney concert only
Roland Peelman (conductor)
James Cuddeford (violin)
Geoffrey Gartner (cello)
Lamorna Nightingale (flute)
Jason Noble (clarinet)
Claire Edwardes (percussion)
Clemens Leske (piano)
Melbourne Recital Centre Salon, 6pm Wednesday 29th April, 2009
Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 8pm Saturday 30th May, 2009
Media & Acclaim
“Their program was an enlightening and transporting one, free of the familiar or predictable, which held the audience attentive in silent concentration throughout”. Full review here