Editor’s Choice: Instrumental, August 2016

Among the 31 (mostly) short pieces on Butterflyingis Lullaby for Nick, an adult embellishment of Elena Kats-Chernin’s first composition, written at age six. Lyrical and wistful, it is a fascinating early manifestation of the prodigious talent that developed into the powerhouse that she is today.

This new double CD is a selection of music composed for her first instrument and love, piano, and on which she teams up with a fellow virtuoso who also began her musical career as a child prodigy. Tamara-Anna Cislowska gave her first public performance at two, playing Bartók, commenced studies at the Sydney Conservatorium at six and won the ABC Young Performer Award in 1991 at 14, the youngest ever winner. Although Cislowska’s repertoire spans five centuries, she has come to be particularly associated with contemporary Australian composers, winning an ARIA Award in 2015 for her ABC recording of Peter Sculthorpe’s Complete Works for Solo Piano. Ten years in the making, that project involved extensive collaboration between performer and composer; so too did Butterflying.

In Cislowska, Kats-Chernin has found the perfect transmitter and musical partner who combines technical prowess with a particular depth...