And now, as they say, for something completely different. Take the Dog Sled is a short piece in eight movements by Canadian composer Alexina Louie scored for instrumental ensemble and Inuit throat singers. The movements have titles like Bug Music and Sharpening the Runners on the Dog Sled. The style is mostly a kind of high energy playful minimalism with quite a lot of percussion and percussive effects from other instruments. It’s often quite onomatopoeic. There are also some quite beautifully, hauntingly evocative passages. The throat singers are used sparingly but to good effect.
Yesterday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA featured members of the Esprit Orchestra and Krisztina Szabó. Two instrumental pieces kicked things off. There was an Andrew Staniland composition for snare drum and electronics; Orion Constellation Theory, played by Ryan Scott. This was quite witty and inventive. Very Staniland in fact. Then came a three movement work for solo harp; Alexina Louie’s From the Eastern Gate played by Sanya Eng. For two movements it was light and bright using mainly the upper end of the harp’s range. It was engagingly tuneful too though not in any kind of conventionally tonal way. The third movement was darker, louder and more dramatic, brooding even, and using a far wider range of the instrument’s capabilities. All up, an interesting piece.