fbpx

Recordings

OFFSPRING BITES 3: EN MASSE

“…incredible energy, clarity, intelligence and spirited engagement that the musicians bring to the performances”

Vanessa Lann (composer, The Netherlands/USA)

Offspring Bites celebrates the most stunning chamber works commissioned by Ensemble Offspring through our Noisy Egg Creation Fund, recording them for release and pairing them with bespoke visual content. Offspring Bites 3: En Masse features works by Australian composers Alex Pozniak, Holly Harrison and Thomas Meadowcroft.”The latest album from Ensemble Offspring immediately demands re-visits with its dynamic juxtaposition of works by Alex Pozniak (a powerfully dramatic assaying of weight in music), Holly Harrison (a witty, hip take on instrumental and other musical distortions) and Thomas Meadowcroft (a gently vibrating meditation that opens out to a pulsing expansive vision). As ever, these Australian works are superbly played and recorded by Ensemble Offspring.”

En Masse is Alex Pozniak’s response to a commission by long-time supporter Charles Davidson, for a substantial piece for the sextet’s core line up of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion. The title refers to the idea of the ensemble working together in a unified mass and the musical ideas explore notions of mass and heaviness. It exists in a segue 3-movement form (fast slow fast) and is 30 minutes in length.

bend/boogie/break by Western Sydney composer Holly Harrison describes the character of three recurring ideas across the work. ‘Bend’ refers to the use of glissandi and pitch bends (particularly strings); ‘Boogie’ refers to the underlying funk bass; and ‘Break’, as in, to break apart or a ‘breakdown’ section (perhaps a nod to metal rhythms).

The title of Thomas Meadowcroft’s work for quartet and electronics, Medieval Rococo, is an oxymoron for our time: how is it possible to generate an abundance of wealth, ornamentation and redundancy on the back of an impoverished idea? The terms ‘medieval’ and ‘rococo’ are not used to reference periods of European art history, but in the populist sense of the words. ‘Medieval’ denotes music crude and backward, ‘rococo’ denotes music garish and arty.

Offspring Bites 3: En Masse features new video art by Melbourne artist Cobie Orgers (Medieval Rococo), and Sydney-based Juan Withington and Andrew Morgan (bend/boogie/break). A professionally documented live performance of En Masse can also be viewed here.

“The latest album from Ensemble Offspring immediately demands re-visits with its dynamic juxtaposition of works by Alex Pozniak (a powerfully dramatic assaying of weight in music), Holly Harrison (a witty, hip take on instrumental and other musical distortions) and Thomas Meadowcroft (a gently vibrating meditation that opens out to a pulsing expansive vision). As ever, these Australian works are superbly played and recorded by Ensemble Offspring.”

Keith Gallasch (RealTime founder, Sydney)

“En Masse satisfied my long-held desire for an extended work by Australian composer Alex Pozniak, whose career I have followed for many years. And this disc doesn’t disappoint, brimming with Pozniak’s signature darkness and punctuating bold gestures. The long-form nature of En Masse allows space to revel in quieter textural moments throughout, a rare treat for my ears.”

Lachlan Skipworth (composer, Perth)

En Masse is a perfect expression of Offspring’s 25 year history of combining distinctive personalities into a cohesive unit. In the true spirit of something done En Masse, there is a group consensus, common purpose, and a rich depth of individual artistry.”

Ross Karre (percussionist & director, International Contemporary Ensemble)

WATCH: EN MASSE

Ensemble Offspring performing En Masse for Phoenix Central Park (2020)

PERFORMERS

Claire Edwardes (percussion / Artistic Director)
Jason Noble (clarinets)
Lamorna Nightingale (flutes)
Véronique Serret (violin)
Blair Harris (cello tracks 1-3)
Rowena McNeish (cello track 4)
Benjamin Kopp (piano tracks 1-3)
Zubin Kanga (piano tracks 4, 5)
Roland Peelman (conductor tracks 1-3)

CREDITS

Audio:

  • Tracks 1-3 recorded at Studio 301 by Bob Scott
  • Track 4 recorded at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Music Workshop by Bob Scott
  • Track 5 recorded at Eugene Goossens, ABC Centre Ultimo by producer Andre Shrimski and engineer Jason Blackwell, mixed and mastered by Bob Scott

Photography:

  • Dale Harrison (front cover)
  • Keith Saunders (inside cover)
  • Anna Kamaralli (page 3)
  • Steve Broadbent (page 4)
  • Harry Schnitger (page 7)

THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS

A big thanks to all our wonderful Noisy Egg Creation Fund donors for their brilliant support of these works, especially Charles Davidson, Penny LeCouteur and Greg Dickson.

Ensemble Offspring is grateful for government support from the Australia Council for The Arts and Create NSW.