The concerto has a long and ingrained tradition in the world of classical music. We’re excited to see how composers explore or depart from this tradition. In this playlist we’ve given the past a nod, see especially Scott McIntyre’s work referencing Beethoven, but also included a work for jazz orchestra by Nadia Burgess, as a nod to the jazz convention of giving players solos, their moment in the spotlight. In another vein, Kirsten Milenkos’ work addresses environmental themes. We hope you enjoy this selection of “duels” or “conversations” between one and many.
This month we’re delighted to hand over the curatorial reins to MW Intern Michelle Nguyen. The playlist theme centres on the idea of our relationship and place within external environments, both ecological and social, and also our internal selves, looking at identity and memory. In this playlist, place is explored in its physical manifestations, as well as its changing and ephemeral nature.
The interactions we have with the natural environments we inhabit are explored through pieces by David Burraston, May Lyon, and Elissa Goodrich, while Josten Myburgh, Aviva Endean, and Gabrielle Cadenhead’s pieces inquire into our relationship with place in urban, social, and controlled environments. Electro Fractal Gamelan and Connect Four by two amazing members of the Making Waves team, Peggy Polias and Alexis Weaver, take a look inwards to nostalgia, memory, and places in time.
With an overarching soundscape of electronics, field recordings, extended techniques, and musique concrete, these pieces all explore an element of noise and uncertainty, which exposes a lot of our human qualities. In looking for perfection, the glitches, unintended sounds, and accidents have all contributed to our musical culture and the wide variety of sounds we enjoy.
This playlist includes a video of Hapnophobia by Aviva Endean, which is a site-specific work that encompasses the audio, visual, and tactile realms. The video functions as a score for the audience as they move throughout a specific location at the arts centre, and would ideally be watched or performed in location.
The theme for International Women’s Day in 2018 is #PressforProgress. Here at Making Waves, we think 13+ hours of music by mostly unpublished Australian composers who happen to be women is relatively progressive. We hope you enjoy this collection, whether you stream intensively or bookmark it to savour in stages.
However, this is ongoing work: the more composers whose music we get to know, the wider our networks reach and the more new faces we discover. We see you out there who haven’t gotten around to sending us a track or two! Today we especially encourage women and gender diverse composers to get in touch and submit your recordings to the Making Waves curation pool. We have tried to make the criteria as open as possible with no restrictions on gender or age, and as wide a definition of “Australian” as possible, plus occasional special editions from off-shore locations (hint: there’s another international playlist coming soon!!).
What are some ways composers and musicians “pressing for progress” in terms of gender?
The Women in Sound Women on Sound reading list is a great starting point for wider reading on and by women working in sound with some useful data-driven search tools. We are excited to watch how this evolves as more sources are added.
Music Theory Examples By Women is an excellent resource for music educators looking to diversify their notated teaching materials. The website also links to some sizeable playlists on Spotify, YouTube, etc.
Throwback to GRID (Gender Research in Darmstart), Feminist Activism during the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, 2016, and especially Ashley Fure’s reflections.
If you want to crunch the numbers closer to home on Australian content programmed by the Major Performing Arts Organisations, including attention to gender representation, catch Ian Whitney’s Australian Content in 2018, now an annual blogging tradition.
This month we decided to tackle the spectrum of compositions that inhabit and explore radiophonic composition. Radiophonic music developed as an artistic practice focusing on the use of electronics, abstracting and manipulating sounds to create unique pieces often designed specifically for radio. This medium places you, the listener, at the centre of the experience, how you interpret the sounds as they are divorced from a traditional concert context.
The works in this playlist are designed to immerse you in the spectrum of radiophonic sounds. Sounds from what we know are abstracted in each of these tracks, from the raw, digitally manipulated samples of organic everyday household sounds utilised by Andrew Ball and Michelle Nguyen, to the visually evocative soundscapes evoked by Fiona Hill and Jessica Wells. Electronics are used throughout this playlist to abstract how voices and conversations are heard. These range from the use of intimate recordings of family conversations by Martin K. Koszolko to Amber Hansen’s ambient mix of samples recorded in the island of Capri.
This playlist also features works by Amber Hansen and Marlene Radice which were specifically commissioned for radio play and as such have been composed the be heard via this medium, the live component of the composition being the listening act in and of itself.
All of these works are designed to be interpreted by the listener a multitude of different ways, they challenge how we listen to sounds and re-evaluate how we perceive music.
Many composers find inspiration in their environment and surroundings, and we have hinted at this in several past playlists (Nature Waves, Sonic Environment Waves). This month’s playlist, Landscape Waves, brings together a selection of works for varied forces, all reflecting on aspects of the outdoor or natural world and sound: the sounds of people, animals and places, and especially the sounds of climate. This progression from drought through to deluge is your soundtrack to another month of southern hemisphere summer.
Plug in, press play and relax into a dream-like hour of contemporary compositions from our featured Australian composers. In this month’s Dream Waves playlist listen out for some common characteristics between these 10 stunning works, in the use of melodic lines, resonance, atmospheric effects, diatonic languages, ambience, repetition and an innate sense of reflection and stillness. Predominantly featuring works for acoustic instruments, we were delighted to find that the electronic works and sound art from Marlene Radice and David Newnes contributed to and expanded on the theme. Join us as we float away over the next sixty minutes with a final playlist for 2017. We’re thrilled to end the year on such a beautiful note!
This month we’ve brought together a number of compositions that relate to jazz or world music in varying degrees, sometimes not in the most direct or obvious way. Where are the boundaries between contemporary classical and jazz styles? What are different ways composers look to wider folk and world musics for inspiration? Many composers featured this month effortlessly weave in and out of jazz/improvisatory and classical practice, creating fascinating and eclectic bodies of work. We hear in some of the works a focus on melody and harmony, with folk tunes or a chart-based approach. Several works for sax ensembles or big band are of the toe-tapping variety while others have an adventurous contemporary flavour. Yet other works are scored for small colouristic bands or chamber ensembles. We hope you enjoy this ride through a diverse collection of sounds.