Sandra France: Fluctuating States of Calm

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Australian composer Sandra France is quite frank about naming her influences -- Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitry Shostakovich, and even Johannes Brahms are some of the masters she mentions in her liner notes -- and this directness, along with her light touch and humor, indicates a lack of pretentiousness that makes her eclectic 2005 album on Tall Poppies easy to appreciate. Too often, collections of young composers' works are scattered and inconsistent, jumping back and forth between orchestral, chamber, and solo pieces with little sense of order or connectedness; and the experience of listening to such uneven résumés is often made worse by reading dense piece ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Australian composer Sandra France is quite frank about naming her influences -- Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitry Shostakovich, and even Johannes Brahms are some of the masters she mentions in her liner notes -- and this directness, along with her light touch and humor, indicates a lack of pretentiousness that makes her eclectic 2005 album on Tall Poppies easy to appreciate. Too often, collections of young composers' works are scattered and inconsistent, jumping back and forth between orchestral, chamber, and solo pieces with little sense of order or connectedness; and the experience of listening to such uneven résumés is often made worse by reading dense piece descriptions that seem intended to obscure the patchwork nature of such retrospectives. Not so with France. She seems to recognize the ad hoc nature of this album, which represents her work from 1993 to 2002, and she gracefully describes her music in a low-key, witty manner that makes it seem much more inviting. The nine compositions on Fluctuating States of Calm are that, and skillfully written, too, with a sharp sense for instrumental color and ensemble textures. Highlights of the CD include the boisterous "Heritage Overture for orchestra" 2001, the angular but lyrical "String Quartet No. 1" 1993, and the jaunty and tuneful ensemble piece "Miss Mugwort" 1997; these in particular show France's abilities to best advantage. The title work, "Fluctuating States of Calm for cello" 1999, is possibly the most personally expressive, and the performance by David Pereira is immediate and compelling. The remaining selections, while solid in craft, and interesting in details, are a little less striking and memorable. Yet every piece on this disc is accessible and pleasant to hear, and the performances by a long roster of musicians are always secure and intelligently interpreted. The sound varies slightly from track to track, but the disc is well-balanced and enjoyable at a comfortable middle volume.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2006
  • Label: Tall Poppies
  • UPC: 939900117726
  • Catalog Number: 177

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Heritage Overture - Sandra France & Colin Piper (4:50)
    Composed bySandra France
    Conducted byColin Piper
    Performed byColin Piper, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  2. 2–4 Three Miniatures for piano trio - Barbara Jane Gilby & Sandra France (10:03)
    Composed bySandra France
    1. 2Stravinsky's Book
    2. 3Playing in the Shadows
    3. 4You're Sitting on My Thoughts
  3. 5 What Goes Around Comes Around, for clarinet quartet - Sandra France & Clarity Quartet (1:58)
    Composed bySandra France
  4. 6 Fluctuating States of Calm, for cello - Sandra France & David Pereira (6:56)
    Composed bySandra France
  5. 7–8 String Quartet No. 1 - Barbara Jane Gilby & Sandra France (13:34)
    Composed bySandra France
    1. 7Movement 1
    2. 8Movement 2
  6. 9 Monism, for violin & marimba - Pal Eder & Sandra France (6:28)
    Composed bySandra France
  7. 10 Duo for flute & cello - Sandra France & David Pereira (6:22)
    Composed bySandra France
  8. 11 Miss Mugwort, for ensemble - Barbara Jane Gilby & Sandra France (7:49)
    Composed bySandra France
    Conducted byTor Fromyhr
    Performed byWyana Etherington, Gary France, Tor Fromyhr
  9. 12 Kroger March for band - Sandra France & Robert Levy (2:56)
    Composed bySandra France
    Conducted byRobert Levy
    Performed byRobert Levy
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