“We’re on the home run,” declared a CIMF volunteer after Thursday evening’s event. “Fourteen concerts down and only ten to go!” It’s a bit like that. As winter temperatures descend on Canberra, concert fatigue sets in. A night home with Netflix begins to look very tempting.

With two large-scale pieces, both by composers relatively unknown to Canberra audiences, the small audience at the Fitters’ Workshop on Thursday evening were rewarded with an experience quite unlike any other in the 2022 Festival program. For some, it may even have been life-changing.

Each piece has a fascinating back-story, born on contemporary political events.

Richard Piper, Flinders Quartet and Dimity Shepherd perform Katy Abbott's Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender at the 2022 Canberra International Music Festival. Photo © Peter Hislop. Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender

Barely recovered from a tussle with COVID, Melbourne composer Katy Abbott was on hand for what was effectively the premiere of her new musico-documentary, Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender. It was originally performed in the Melbourne...