SOMETIMES HOME CAN GROW STRANGER THAN SPACE
Originally premiered in 2018 for the centenary of the end of the Great War, Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger than Space contains highly personalised perspectives by three composers: Peter Knight evokes the irreparable grief of the parents of the dead, Tilman Robinson the motivation for a young man to go to war, and Andrea Keller the stories of four woman in service or at home. If the shared mood is elegiac, the realisation is by no means all sepia-toned.
Knight has penned words for Georgie Darvidus to sing in his Sharp Folds Parts 1 & 2, the chilling impact of which is amplified by her delivering them without histrionics, but as if numbed by her torment. Robinson re-contextualises snippets of an interview with a veteran so that the impact is more theatrical and the music more skeletal, and Keller’s pieces use what may be diary entries as a libretto for Darvidus to sing against quite disturbing backdrops. A nine-piece incarnation of the Australian Art Orchestra realises the music, in which, for all the extant or implicit thematic material, the emphasis remains on improvisation, the players including Knight (trumpet), Robinson (electronics), Keller (piano) and Simon Barker (drums).