Nimbus Trio
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Nimbus Trio

Collingwood, Victoria, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Collingwood, Victoria, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Classical Chamber

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"Live Review: Composer's Concert"

BY MICHAEL HAMMELMANN



Composer’s Concert
Featuring works by Kitty Xiao, Hana Zreikat, Carol Dixon, Sarah Elise Thompson, and Benjamin Bates
Performances by Nimbus Trio (Kitty Xiao, Cameron Jamieson, Jessica Laird), Hana Zreikat, Melbourne Composers’ Orchestra, Natasha Lin, Briar String Quartet (Navin Gulavita, Matthew Rigby, Georgia Stibbard, and Sage Fuller)
St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Richmond, 3 April



With six stunning new works in the program, it was refreshing to see such young music of no more than approximately three years old on display at the composer’s concert. The compositions were absolutely outstanding with each item bringing new and at times unexpected elements to the forefront of the performance. Along with a heartfelt effort from the soloists, trio, quartet and orchestra, this was a fulfilling journey into the talents of some exceptional modern-day composers.

Sarah Elise Thompson’s world premiere of her String Quartet No.1 First (appropriately titled) captured the essence of new beginnings as well as the anxiousness found when taking the first steps into the unknown. She communicated these thoughts by allowing space for the quartet to fade in and out of the work, whilst emulating strength in the piercing melody of the first violin part to signify ‘potential energy’ in beginnings. Her other work Riven, also a world premiere, was by far the most intriguing piece of the concert. It contained sporadic bursts of notes being vigorously played from one end of the piano to the other, with the strings of the piano and elbows on the piano keys also utilized.

Carol Dixon debuted three new works, Piano trio No.1 The Dove, String Quartet No.1 No Stone Unturned, and Ocean Oasis, all of which contained boundless lyricisms and wonderful harmonies, particularly between the first and second violins. Ocean was the highlight of the three. A sense of the ocean was evoked to the audience with ease in truly ingenious composition.

Hana Zreikat’s solo piano work Elan was sublime in its joyous melodies, whilst the Soldier’s Suite stood out from other works due to its soothing and warm tone. The theme of compassion in times of war was clearly established in the lyrics and atmospheric voice possessed by Zreikat. Soldier’s was an overall soul-touching composition and performance.

Nimbus and Nipper– the first two works from Kitty Xiao’s Novum trilogy, were magnificent in its texture and tonality with both pieces further enhanced by incredible acoustical surroundings. Her new work Emei, which follows a journey up Mount Emei in Sichuan, China, was simply magical. The mystical entrance into the piece seemed automatically to give the audience a sense of where they were. The vertigo feeling that ensued due to the ‘winding path of the foreign land’ was witnessed through the piece, progressively getting faster and more overwhelming, a stroke of genius from the composer and an all-round fantastic new work.

Another highlight of the concert was undoubtedly Benjamin Bates’ world premiere of Symphony no.3. Unconventionally composed on classical guitar, this masterpiece combined strong Spanish influences along with Debussy and Vaughan Williams-inspired harmonies. The string section along with the snare drum made the Spanish segments within the work come alive, while this was also assisted by the calmness of the wind and brass section. The end result was a dramatic Spanish infused work of exceptional compositional skill.

Though all of these compositions were top quality, it would not have been possible to perform these works without the talented musicians that were present. The Briar String Quartet, Nimbus Trio and the Melbourne Composers’ Orchestra were all phenomenal in their delivery of these new and challenging works.

Overall, these compositions were outright masterworks and, along with expertly executed performances from the musicians, make one marvel at just how much compositional talent there is in Melbourne. - Cut Common Magazine


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