The American Dream-Song: New Music in the USA
Judith Wright Centre
Judith Wright Centre Theatre Rehearsal Space
Friday November 29 2013
Reviewed by Guy Frawley
Kupka’s Piano has finished their 2013 concert series with a one night only performance of The American Dream-Song: New Music in the USA. Following on from their exploration of new Italian music in September’s To Roam With Love, The American Dream-Song, as the name suggests, is an exploration of modern music, heavily influenced by composers from the USA.
It’s great to see such a talented group of young artists coming together to not only perform but also to explore and present a style of music that they are all obviously passionate about but that doesn’t often get top billing. Three of the five pieces performed throughout the concert were Australian premieres, one of the pieces a world premiere and the majority of composers sampled are under 40. The performers were: Hannah Reardon-Smith (flutes), Macarthur Clough (clarinets), Angus Wilson (percussion), Alex Raineri (piano), Alethea Coombe (violin), Katherine Philp (cello), Samantha Mason (saxophones) and Luara Karlson-Carp (vocals).
The concert explored a number of different themes within the music, with a heavy focus on the ideas of counterpoint, instability and surprise. My personal favourite of the evening was the opening piece Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say composed by the young American composer Kate Soper and performed by Hannah Reardon-Smith and Luara Karlson-Carp. They commented afterwards that this piece had required a long rehearsal period for them to get it just right and I can certainly believe that. The two blended together Karlson-Carp’s voice and Reardon-Smith’s flute until you weren’t sure which you were actually listening to.
Such control and skill is a pleasure to witness, especially when it’s clear how much the performers are enjoying themselves.
This has been an exciting year for Kupka’s Piano, selling out a number of their concerts and receiving glowing reviews from the modern music community that has come out to support the young group. Liam Flenday, a founding member of Kupka’s Piano and a composer of one of the pieces being premiered, was able to announce during his introduction that the Judy has invited them to return in 2014 for another series of concert performances.
It’s great news to hear that the Judy will be continuing to support this eclectic musical collective and their 2014 season will be kicking off on the 21st of March with The Machine and the Rank Weeds: An exploration of the mechanic and the organic in modern music.