Born in the UK, pianist, conductor and composer David Stanhope (b. 1952) has been based in Australia for many decades. His myriad conducting and recording credits include operas, ballets and soundtracks, notably the Australian classic Babe. A formidable pianist, Stanhope also plays French horn and bass trombone and is particularly renowned as an award-winning brass ensemble composer.

David Stanhope

Of late, Stanhope has released a series of albums using virtual orchestras, drawing on digital sound libraries, as a cost-effective means of recording and publicising neglected compositions that would, he argues, otherwise remain unheard. Australian Premières Volume 2 presents four works recorded this way but featuring live soloists. The Concerto for Solo Percussion by David Morgan (b. 1932) is structured in two parts consisting of six short contrasting movements and was written for celebrated South Australian-based percussionist Ryszard Pusz, who performs it here. In addition, Pusz is the featured soloist in the jazz-inflected Concerto for Marimba/Vibraphone by Eric Bryce (1932-2007), which he also commissioned.

A stark contrast to these two vibrantly rhythmic works is Medea, written for string orchestra by Robert Constable...