Archive for July, 2014

Heaven-Haven: in memory of Thomas Kelly.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Heaven Haven webIt is very often the most everyday of people who leave us with the most profound of legacies and it is through this newly released compilation of music by composer, Phillip Wilcher, that the souls and spirits of some remarkable individuals are celebrated and enriched with remembrance.

Released by Wirripang in 2014, Heaven-Haven is dedicated to the family of eighteen year-old Thomas Kelly  in memory of their beloved son and brother who was fatally injured by a single king-hit punch on a Sydney street on the 7th July, 2012. The following review is of selected tracks from the CD from which the profits of sales will be donated to the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundationthe inspiration behind the music is drawn from the lives of people who the music honours – the reward of such lies as much for them and their memory as for those today who knew and love them.

[1] Heaven-Haven (2012) The Linden String Quartet : Inspired initially by the poem of the same name by Gerard Manley Hopkins, this piece evolved into a dedication to a precious young life stolen forever in an unprovoked moment of pointless violence. Performed by the Linden String Quartet, this is a leader-driven piece which brings forth an impassioned search for reason from Marina Marsden on first violin, close interplay from Emily Long’s 2nd violin and Justine Marsden’s viola with a richly melodic bass from the cello. Deeply moving.

Producer: Dr Houston Dunleavy. Engineer: Simon Todkill.

[4] Ballade (2002) Jeanell Carrigan, piano: Love this piece! this very familiar three-part musical form is controlled with incredible dexterity by the pianist. Unpredictable harmonies in the first section are presented with breathtaking mastery combining demanding cross-rhythms between two hands and impassioned expression before an extraordinary transition into the most delicately lyrical passage. This piece not only demonstrates the pianist’s virtuosity but also how effective the use of a striking range of dynamics can create fluidity and continuity in a very complex piece of music. Amazing!

Engineer: Danielle McWilliam

[6] Forever Beneath the Waves (2003) Jeanell Carrigan, piano: Close your eyes and Jeanell Carrigan takes you to sea in this delightfully upbeat, ‘twinkly’ piece with a light and breezy rhythm. The pianist delivers an effortless cross-rhythm between both hands and yet ensures the ear does not stray from the melodic line. The closing bars bring you gently back to shore as if waking from a pleasant dream.

Engineers: Peter Freeman and Lachlan Lacey

[7] High Tea 1 (2012): The Linden String Quartet: This piece took me back to a time of grace and gentility, one can imagine this piece being played on board the Titanic to the gentle clink of fine china and discreet, refined chatter. I particularly love the interchange between Justine Marsden’s viola and Elizabeth Neville’s cello towards the end of the piece, both played with a richness of tone that is truly satisfying before the first violin takes over one last time and sings the piece to an end of such sweetness.

Producer: Dr Houston Dunleavy. Engineer: Simon Todkill

[8 & 10] Intermezzo 1 & 2 (1994) Jeanell Carrigan, piano: Written as companion pieces, the two complement each other beautifully and, for me, there is a natural progression from one to the next. Intermezzo 1 is subtly moulded by the pianist around the composers musical ideas of poetic expression. The left hand provides some strong passages that are tempered with soft dynamic shadings. I love the brief ‘silence’ just before the finish. Intermezzo 2 is finely crafted piece in both composition and performance that seems to be speaking to itself in a spirit of affectionate reminiscence. Exquisite phrasing throughout the piece and a sense of ‘underplaying’ takes it to a final point of disappearance that is meltingly vivid. These two works, I feel, are best enjoyed back to back in order to understand the poetic element however they also stand as two very individual works.

Engineer: Danielle McWilliam

[13] In Nomine Patris (2012) The Linden String Quartet: Inspired by a dream featuring Michelangelo’s great sculpture Pieta, this piece reflects the classical study in sorrow created in marble by the artist during the Renaissance. This piece is a dedication in memoriam to Denise Bassanelli, a mother who fought a brave battle against cancer for 17 years until the disease claimed her life in 2012. The connection between the inspiration and the dedication of this piece is remarkable; a sculpture depicting a mother holding her departed son inspiring a piece dedicated to a departed mother who is held in the heart of a beloved son. The piece, played with little to almost no vibrato, has a true Renaissance flavour blending the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism. Justine Marsden’s viola begins with a solo passage that is gradually embraced by the other strings to create a sense of a sorrow that can be shared with others but rarely understood by them.

Producer: Dr Houston Dunleavy. Engineer: Simon Todkill

[17] Remembered on Waking (2012) The Linden String Quartet:  Dedicated to a remarkable young man, Ben Breedlove, who passed away at the age of 18 from a heart condition in 2011, this piece begins with a beautifully modulated motif between 2nd violin and viola which is then joined in a moment of intense sensitivity by the first violin. The phrasing by Marina Marsden’s first violin  draws the melody line  along carefully in a recitative-like solo, with well judged restraint so as to allow the mood to be shaped into one of wistful yearning. This piece ebbs and flows along on the subdued richness of Elizabeth Neville’s cello bass line carrying it to a delicate and sensitive ending, reflecting the memory of a fine young spirit that touched and continues to touch many.

Producer: Dr Houston Dunleavy. Engineer: Simon Todkill.

This CD stands as a wonderful dedication to the family of Thomas Kelly and their aim to further the awareness of the need to remove violence from our streets and promote a culture in which life is respected and valued.

Piano: Jeanell Carrigan

The Linden String Quartet: Marina Marsden, Violin; Emily Long, Violin, Justine Marsden, Viola; Elizabeth Neville, Cello.

Produced by Wirripang Pty Ltd.