I cannot resist listening to a CD that advertises three world premières. On this recording, the Benaud Trio performs four works for piano trio, all of which were written by composers from Australia, the home country of both the Benaud Trio and the Melba label. If you’re looking for contemporary chamber music, you’ve come to the right place. Ross Edwards, Paul Stanhope, Matthew Hindson and Nicholas Buc wrote the works recorded here in 1998, 2007 and 2010. And if you haven’t come here for such music, I encourage you to stay, read and listen a while, because I’m sure you’ll enjoy what’s in store.
The works utilize a variety of expressive instrumental devices. Though it is difficult to draw similarities between them, much of the music dialogues overtly tonal material and more jagged, spiky textures. Much of the tonal material is sorrowful and reflective, never quite giving in to respectful absolution and instead turning inward and further downward toward a suspended melancholic state. At times these passages begin to simmer and then boil with the rhythmic activity of ostinatos, only to cool once again and return to a less energetic but somehow more luminous style.
If I had to pick a favorite work, it would be the fourth: Nichlas Bue’s Trailer Music. Commissioned by the Benaud Trio, its inspiration draws from the pre-film advertisements regularly seen in cinemas and is scored to lead its audience through a full spectrum of emotions. Not only are these emotions expressed to great effect, they are streamlined seamlessly - unlike the segmented trailers on which the work is based - to produce a captivating and diverse aural journey.
To conclude, the Benaud Trio gives passionate performances of all four works and I appreciate their collaboration with Melba to bring these stunning contemporary works to the wider audience they deserve. Highly recommended.
The Benaud Trio rose to prominence after winning the piano trio prize at the 2005 Australian Chamber Music Competition. They present a concert series in Melbourne and have completed a residency at the Banff Centre in Canada. For their debut recording, they offer piano trios by some of Australia's most notable composers.
A link to the full liner notes can be found here or in the left sidebar.
Ian Perry speaks with Benaud Trio members, Lachlan and Ewen Bramble following the release of their debut recording.
Between them, the members of the Benaud Trio have accumulated an impressive number of chamber music awards and have studied with numerous prominent musicians and ensembles including: the St Lawrence String Quartet, Scott St. John, Mark Steinberg, Mark Mogilevski, Janis Laurs, Timothy Young, Wilma Smith and William Hennessy.
One of Australia’s best known composers, Ross Edwards has created a unique sound world which seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore its traditional association with ritual and dance. Intensely aware of his vocation since childhood, he has largely followed his own path, allowing the music to speak for itself.
Paul Stanhope (b. 1969) is recognised as a leading composer of his generation not only in Australia but internationally. He has also had prominent performances of his works in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States. After studies with Andrew Ford, Andrew Schultz and Peter Sculthorpe, Paul was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship which enabled him to study for a time at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
Matthew Hindson AM (b. 1968) is one of the most-performed and most-commissioned composers of his generation. His works have been performed by ensembles and orchestras throughout Australia and internationally.
Nicholas Buc is a composer, arranger, conductor, violinist and pianist. He studied Composition with Brenton Broadstock at the University of Melbourne, where he received the inaugural Fellowship of Australian Composers Award.
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Matthew Hindson: Piano Trio - III. Epic Diva (2007)