WOMEN IN MUSIC FESTIVAL – PLEXUS: PRISM ★★★★
Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, July 17
One unjustly neglected aspect of Australia’s musical landscape is the role of women composers; a recent survey of major Australian orchestras revealed works by women accounted for just three per cent of total programming last year. Bucking that trend is Plexus, whose opening concert in the weekend’s Women in Music Festival consisted entirely of works it had commissioned from Australian women.
Listeners were rewarded with music shaped by diverse backgrounds and influences. Insieme-Yapaneyepuk-Together by Yorta Yorta composer Deborah Cheetham proved a questing curtain-raiser. Its restless search for a shared unison pitch posed questions about humanity’s desire, but inability, to achieve togetherness. Alluringly infused with Middle Eastern folk references, Night Dances by Peggy Polias cleverly exploited a variety of textural and melodic effects to summon up nocturnal wonder.