Monash Art Ensemble Friday 3 October 7:30pm at the Iwaki Auditorium, free
There’s a lot on in Melbourne tonight. First up, at 7.30pm, the always exciting Monash Art Ensemble presents its third and final project for 2014, featuring the world premiere of three new compositions and one classic work.
From 8.30pm, at Uptown Jazz Cafe, there will be two sets to launch Paper Tiger, a new album from Stephen Magnusson, Jamie Oehlers and Ben Vanderwal. But more of that in a separate post.
The Iwaki concert will comprise American modernist composer Milton Babbitt’s All Set, which is a rarely performed work of third stream music, a synthesis of classical music and jazz; Andrew Harrison’s Gassed Shell (Severe) explores his grandfather’s WW1 experiences; Confluence by lauded pianist and composer Joseph O’Connor was written specifically for the Monash Art Ensemble, and a new work, for e.e. cummings, by the ensemble’s director Paul Grabowsky completes the program.
Andrew Harrison has written for theatre, film and the concert hall. His signature compositional style draws upon the art music and jazz traditions, challenging the boundaries between improvisation and conventional music notation.
Gassed Shell (Severe) continues his musical exploration of his family’s battlefield experiences in World War I. Commissioned by Paul Grabowsky and the Monash Art Ensemble, Gassed Shell (Severe) draws on the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, where his grandfather was wounded in action by mustard gas. Harrison’s composition interweaves excerpts from his grandfather’s war record with Wilfred Owen’s profound antiwar poem Dulce Et Decorum Est. The title of the work comes from his grandfather’s casualty report.
Joseph O’Connor took out the 2013 National Jazz Award and the 2014 Bell Jazz prize for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year. His new composition Confluence is written specifically for the Monash Art Ensemble and celebrates the thorny atonality and rhythmic volatility of American modernism composers in sequences of detailed notation. Each member of the ensemble will bring their personal histories to the work through improvisation in the central movements.
Milton Babbitt was an American composer, music theorist and teacher noted for his serial and electronic music. All Set was commissioned in 1957 and is seen as the definitive melding of jazz and serial music. As Paul Grabowsky puts it, “His compositional and intellectual wisdom has influenced a wide range of contemporary musicians and is a groundbreaker in the kind of new music that the Monash Art Ensemble is championing.”
Paul Grabowsky is composing a brand new ensemble piece for this concert. for e.e. cummings will build on his already extensive record of award-winning works.