Radiating the benefits of their long association, Harris and Almonte provided a richly rewarding sampling of Australian music reaching back as far as Margaret Sutherland and extending to today’s younger composers. Sutherland’s piano setting of the Bach Christmas chorale, Jesu meine Freude set a mood of lyrical introspection that was to characterise much of the program. In a similar vein was Moneta Eagles’ Pastorale.
Indigenous melodies found poignant expression in Sculthorpe’s Djilile and Gordon Kerry’s Dream. Harris committed to supremely expressive playing, his singing cello riding the music’s emotional peaks and troughs. He excelled in Sculthorpe’s Sonata for Cello Alone, bringing this short but demanding tour de force vividly to life.
Mining the poetic inspiration behind Brenton Broadstock’s Clear Flame Within and Kate Moore’s Whoever You Are Come Forth, Harris beautifully rendered the calm of the first and entered deeply into the soul-searching of the second.
More recently composed, Katy’s Abbott’s solo piano work Glisten and Alice Humphries’ Strike A Light, Burn It Bright for cello and piano offered evocative scenes, some playful, some intense, using imaginative and well-suited techniques.