Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
July 7, 2016

The concert hall was plunged into darkness for the world premiere of Ross Edwards’ new concerto for alto saxophone and percussion, Frog and Star Cycle. A soft drone from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lothar Koenigs, accompanied the birth of creation – percussion soloist Colin Currie’s djembe drumming the universe into existence from off-stage in his role as Shaman. As the universe emerged from the void, Currie entered from stage right, dressed in blue jeans and a lurid t-shirt depicting an Indian goddess (Durga?), his face painted in stripes. His djembe thundered, the chaos of the natural world depicted in the orchestra thriving under his spiritual ministrations.

The lights came up for the Consecration Dance, ­Currie pounding driving rhythms as he dashes between drums and glockenspiel. In white dress and floral crown, saxophonist Amy Dickson entered as the Earth Spirit, the lights fading to green. Sacred Waters, saw Currie dipping his hand into an amplified tub of water – a light splashing and gurgling over the rumble of a deep pedal from the contrabassoon – before the sound of Dickson’s soft, throaty sax crept out of the lingering resonance of the glockenspiel....