Women of Note Volume 4

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Women of Note Volume 4

  • ABC Classics
  • ABCL0013

Building on the success of our first three Women of Note albums, ABC Classic is thrilled to be releasing the fourth volume in our now annual celebration of Australia’s female composers.

Released to coincide with International Women’s Day (8 March), this album begins and ends with works by Indigenous composers that focus on the importance of connection, communication and deep listening: Lou Bennett’s Baiyan Woka and Brenda Gifford’s Djana, drawing on the composers’ respective Yorta Yorta and Yuin heritages.

From the Flinders Quartet comes a new, world premiere recording of Margaret Sutherland’s 1956 Quartet for Cor Anglais and String Trio. This highly expressive and rhythmically playful work was written in a period of new-found artistic freedom, in the years following her divorce from her psychiatrist husband who believed that her claim to be a serious composer was evidence of mental illness. Fellow Australian music pioneer Miriam Hyde appears as the soloist in a landmark 1975 recording of her own Second Piano Concerto, a richly Romantic work composed during her student years in London and premiered at the time by no less than the London Symphony Orchestra.

The tracklist then turns to music written within the last few years, demonstrating the talent and vision of Australia’s living female composers. In "Fuglar himins" (Birds of Heaven), Rósalind Page uses the soprano saxophone to evoke the wild beauty of the gyrfalcon, gliding over the magnificent fjords of Iceland, where she has worked and travelled extensively. Award-winning jazz artist Andrea Keller uses fluctuating states of expansion and contraction, celebration and darkness, to express a sense of inner struggle and a search for peace in I Surrender, inspired by experiences of extended pandemic lockdown in Melbourne. And the Fire Dances suite brings together eight women composers from across all of Australia’s states and territories to reflect on the impact of 2020’s devastating bushfires.


LOU BENNETT (b.1968) arr. Erkki Veltheim Baiyan Woka (2009 / 2020)
Genevieve Lacey recorder, Marshall McGuire harp

MARGARET SUTHERLAND (1897–1984) Quartet for Cor Anglais & String Trio (1956)
I. With vigour and conviction
II. Languidly expressive
III. In high spirits, fast
Ben Opie cor anglais, Flinders Quartet (Thibaud Pavlovic-Hobba violin,
Helen Ireland viola, Zoe Knighton cello)

MIRIAM HYDE (1913–2005) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C-sharp minor (1935)
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante tranquillo
III. Allegro con brio
Miriam Hyde piano, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Simon conductor

RÓSALIND PAGE Fuglar himins (Birds of Heaven) (2018)
Katia Beaugeais soprano saxophone, Phillip Shovk piano

Fire Dances: Suite for Piano Trio (2020):
I. NAT BARTSCH (b.1984) Haze for Days
III. NATALIE WILLIAMS (b.1977) Crowning Dance
IV. MARIA GRENFELL (b.1969) Wall of Flames
V. HILARY KLEINIG (b.1977) Fire Storm
VI. ELENA KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957) In the Embers’ Path
VII. CATHY APPLEGATE (b.1959) Cycads after Fire
Muses Trio (Christa Powell violin, Louise King cello, Therese Milanovic piano)

ANDREA KELLER (b.1973) I Surrender (2020)
Genevieve Lacey recorder, Marshall McGuire harp

BRENDA GIFFORD (b.1965) Djana (2020)
Ensemble Offspring (Claire Edwardes vibraphone, Jason Noble bass clarinet,
Lamorna Nightingale flute)