The Australian Voices, known globally for vibrant performances that reflect on contemporary themes, present their second album: Reverie.
Reverie is a collection of twelve works that bring together themes both banal and transcendent, juxtaposing music that is by turns deeply lyrical and ecstatically ludicrous. A highlight of the album is a setting by the group’s conductor, Gordon Hamilton, of the Elegy – In memoriam Rupert Brooke, written by Australian soldier Frederick Septimus Kelly on the battlefields of Gallipoli and set here to words by Kelly’s close friend Rupert Brooke.
Total Political Correctness fast-forwards to politics of the 21st century, presenting Donald Trump’s statements on women set to music by Robert Davidson – which is in turn wedged between Not Now, Not Ever! (a setting of then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Misogny Speech – a parliamentary condemnation of sexism) and a Chinese lullaby, symbolic of one area of Trump’s alleged ‘expertise’.
The absurd becomes even more literal than Trump himself in Isabella Gerometta’s Words That Turn Into Other Words – a list of words and phrases linked by sound alone. But pure sound is also pure beauty, and in the album’s title track, the choir take on the tradition of konnakol – a South Indian art of singing single syllables.
Jazz trumpeter James Morrison is the first of two guest artists, in his own composition Underwater Basket Weaving; percussionist Claire Edwardes features in Graham Lack’s titular A Reverie of Bone.
Reverie is a deeply engrossing journey through a kaleidoscope of contemporary culture, politics and sensibility; it’s also a celebration of the humour, nuance and sheer beauty of the human voice.