Nigel Westlake: The Hinchinbrook Riffs

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
At the time of this disc's release, Nigel Westlake was one of Australia's rising stars of composition, still waiting to gain wider recognition around the world, but his music was already well-known in certain circles. Percussionists enjoy his "Omphalo-Centric Lecture," while others know his scores for the films Babe and Miss Potter. The Hinchinbrook Riffs is officially the second volume of some of Westlake's chamber music. For those who are familiar with and enjoy "Omphalo-Centric Lecture" and Westlake's Onomatopoeia album Vol. 1 of his chamber music, the two works here that will appeal to them the most are "The Hinchinbrook Riffs" and "Kalabash." "The Hinchinbrook Riffs" ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
At the time of this disc's release, Nigel Westlake was one of Australia's rising stars of composition, still waiting to gain wider recognition around the world, but his music was already well-known in certain circles. Percussionists enjoy his "Omphalo-Centric Lecture," while others know his scores for the films Babe and Miss Potter. The Hinchinbrook Riffs is officially the second volume of some of Westlake's chamber music. For those who are familiar with and enjoy "Omphalo-Centric Lecture" and Westlake's Onomatopoeia album Vol. 1 of his chamber music, the two works here that will appeal to them the most are "The Hinchinbrook Riffs" and "Kalabash." "The Hinchinbrook Riffs" is a mesmerizing, tonal work utilizing digital recording magic to create an echo approximately a half-second behind the guitarist as he plays. Four percussionists play two marimbas in "Kalabash," a work inspired by an African instrument that is a forerunner of the marimba. While the music doesn't use any African melodies or harmonies, its gently bouncing, pulsing energy brings to mind ceremonial dancing. The three other works on the album are more structured, more atonal, and arguably less imaginative than Westlake's other compositions. At first impression, they have the air of being written by someone who is mostly self-taught which Westlake is and is trying to prove that he can write formal, classical music in a way that will satisfy the modern classical elite and academics. The movements in each fit together well, as does the interplay of instruments in the "String Quartet" and "Piano Trio." A close listening, however, reveals that there are elements in all three of the works that link them to Westlake's other writing. The "String Quartet" is built on sound textures created with a variety of bowing and pizzicato techniques, with a dark, unsettled feeling permeating every movement, while the "Piano Sonata" is very percussive. Its middle section is full of Messiaen-esque wonder and sparkling brightness, but the outer sections are intense and aggressive. The one work that comes closest to being more recognizable as Westlake's music is the "Piano Trio." It hovers between tonality and atonality in a way that isn't at all intimidating. The whole trio has a feeling of organic development that even in its most energetic moments can still ripple or float along like water in a rock-strewn channel. All of the ensembles and soloists on this album perform with confidence and give authority to Westlake's music. Those who give it more than a cursory listen may find it more rewarding than they expected.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/31/2007
  • Label: Tall Poppies
  • UPC: 939001001870
  • Catalog Number: 187
  • Sales rank: 275,815

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Trio - Nigel Westlake & Macquarie Trio (20:56)
    Composed byNigel Westlake
    1. 1Movement 1
    2. 2Movement 2
    3. 3Movement 3
  2. 4 Hinchinbrook Riffs, for guitar & digital delay - Nigel Westlake & Craig Ogden (8:15)
    Composed byNigel Westlake
  3. 5–8 String Quartet No. 2 - Nigel Westlake & Goldner String Quartet (23:01)
    Composed byNigel Westlake
    1. 5Movement 1
    2. 6Movement 2
    3. 7Movement 3
    4. 8Movement 4
  4. 9 Kalabash, for percussion ensemble - Nigel Westlake & Synergy (7:35)
    Composed byNigel Westlake
    Performed bySynergy
  5. 10 Piano Sonata - Nigel Westlake & Michael Kieran Harvey (15:14)
    Composed byNigel Westlake
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