Spectral Tech (Ensemble Offspring)

Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music September 29, 2018 “Spectral Tech” was both the name of Sydney new music group Ensemble Offspring’s most recent concert, and the ensemble’s umbrella term for the wide-ranging styles of the three brand new works on the program, drawing, at the same time, a line back to the spectral music of the 1970s – represented here by Tristan Murail’s Treize couleurs du soleil couchant (Thirteen Colours of the Setting Sun). The curtain-raiser was Holly Harrison’s third work in a series composed for Ensemble Offspring commissioned by Penny Le Couteur and Greg Dickson, the title Bend/Boogie/Break evoking the piece’s siren-like slides, grooving funk rhythms and harder beats respectively. Zubin Kanga delivered gritty bass lines from the keyboard, offset at the other end by Claire Edwardes on vibraphone and woodblock – not to mention the sharper punctuation of hi-hat and bass drum. Rowena Macneish’s string-slapping cello stoked the work’s momentum, while Véronique Serret on violin, Lamorna Nightingale on flute and Jason noble and clarinets offered plenty of colour, and some nods to spectral music – which drills down into the acoustic components of music, frequencies, fundamentals and overtones – in gentler moments of mingling upper registers, Edwardes’ taking … Continue reading Spectral Tech (Ensemble Offspring)