YET MORE PROVOCATIONS OF RATTLES (2023): From art music to thanks-but-no-thanks

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YET MORE PROVOCATIONS OF RATTLES (2023): From art music to thanks-but-no-thanks

As we have noted in previous Provocation/Provocations of Rattles columns, the Auckland label releases albums at such a rate it is often impossible to keep up.

And so here, as in the past, we simply offer snapshots of four recent releases.

The label also put out Alan Brown's Ondulation album but we wrote about that here, so we leave that one aside now and turn our attention to these four.

Peter Hobbs: Tomo

ra1These spiritually-imbued compositions for keyboards, synths, taonga puoro and cello have a glorious ambient quality, perhaps befitting where they were composed: in the caves of Auckland's Waitakere Ranges.

Originally developed for a dance production of the same name, Tomo features beautifully atmospheric and sometimes darkly brooding sounds but the subtle melodies throughout run like threads binding together the eight instrumentals.

Hobbs is respected composer of work for installations and that kind of immersive atmosphere (the inner/outer space of Te Kore) pervades this work also.

A stand alone album from the dance piece it was written for, and a journey into some interesting shadowlands of the subconscious (Mother in Tapu).

Rather special.


You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here


Anthony Ritchie: Symphony No 6/Underwater Music

ra2Elsewhere will always bow to those with superior knowledge when it comes to symphonic work, but we do know what we like (Mahler's Symphony No 5 for a kick-off).

This elegant symphony played by the NZSO features a stirring Meditation section with solos for oboe and flute which are elevating.

Written after the Covid pandemic gripped the land and addressing some of that in passages of unease but equally in gentle reverie.. The third section Spirits has almost pastoral evocation which then becomes increasingly disconcerting and almost oppressive.

Also here is the 2015 recording of Ritchie's Underwater Music, a 1993 piece commissioned to premier on the waterfront by Auckland Chamber Orchestra.

The composer is right to note the ebb and flow in the short Seahorses section but the standout is the almost dream-like and romantic Sting Rays section.

The final piece is the short and sprightly Dolphins.

Sting Rays

You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here


Bella Hristova, Michael Houstoun: Brahms Violin Sonatas.

ra3The standout in this batch of Rattle releases and listeners will need little persuasion given the internationally acclaimed talents on display and the soulful, almost folkloric, violin/piano repertoire explored

Not much more need be said by us, perhaps just to quote Houston from the booklet: “Nothing is required in the way of intellectual understanding or knowledge in order to fully appreciate and enjoy the richness of great great music”.

This music is rich and great.


Violin Sonata No 3, Adagio

You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here


Stephanie Acraman, Liam Wooding: The Complete Cabaret Songs of William Bolcom.

ra4But this is a firm no from Elsewhere.

We “get it”, the wry lyrics of Arnold Weinstein and music by William Bolcom from the Sixties.

To these ears the lyrics owe something to the angular view of Ogden Nash but we prefer the more acerbic and bitter approach of their contemporary Tom Lehrer, he of Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, the Cold War humour of We'll All Be Together When We go and Wernher Von Braun.

The jaunty cabaret of He Tipped the Waiter, the ironic melancholy of Toothbrush Time and shrill Surprise! (a woman tries to drink iodine at the office party for her 25th anniversary) aren't for us.

Although Radical Sally is kinda fun and pointed, and At the Last Lousy Moment of Love is excellent.

But of course we should celebrate that these songs have been recorded, and salute rattle's courage in releasing something which is most definitely for a very limited audience.

Radical Sally

You can hear and buy this album at Spotify here

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