Sometimes we go to concerts to hear a particular performer. Sometimes we go to hear a specific work. Sometimes we go to listen to an extended reflection on a fascinating sound world. Indies and Idols, the ACO’s latest program touring nationally, is the latter.

Richard Tognetti Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra

The ‘Indies’ in the title are Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens and Jonny Greenwood, three composers writing music variously described as ‘crossover’, ‘indie classical’ and ‘undefinable’. The name doesn’t matter. It’s the sound, using the dramatic push and pull of film scores, the ear-catching pop of indierock, all informed by classical music and, in particular, the pre- and post-war modernism of Polish composers Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki and Karol Szymanowski. The works run together almost seamlessly, different voices speaking to each other across time and space with remarkable coherence.

The concert opens with a tense and twitchy run at Lutosławski’s Overture for Strings, setting the scene for the Australian premiere of Bryce Dessner’s impressive and compelling suite,  Reponse Lutosławski.This deserves to become a core work in the ACO’s repertoire.

Sufjan Stevens’ Suite from  Run Rabbit Run began as a purely electronic album and, as...