Vo­cal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Vincent Plush

With Love and Fury Brod­sky Quar­tet & Katie Noo­nan Kin Mu­sic Katie Noo­nan first made the ac­quain­tance of the Brod­sky Quar­tet through its cel­e­brated 1993 col­lab­o­ra­tion with Elvis Costello, The Juliet Letters. Al­most 25 years later this renowned Bri­tish en­sem­ble is Noo­nan’s back­ing band. Noo­nan has cho­sen 10 of her favourite Aus­tralian composers to set texts by the Aus­tralian poet-en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Ju­dith Wright. There is am­ple va­ri­ety here, but the gos­samer tones of Noo­nan’s voice pro­vide con­ti­nu­ity that sus­tains the hour of mu­sic. Trained in opera and un­afraid of ven­tur­ing into un­fa­mil­iar vo­cal ter­ri­tory, Noo­nan se­duces the lis­tener with close-miked singing some­where be­tween Bjork and Cathy Ber­be­rian. In set­tings by Iain Grandage and David Hirschfelder, she soaks op­er­at­i­cally. In mu­sic by John Rodgers and Richard Tognetti she leaps over the pit­falls of con­tem­po­rary vo­cal tech­niques. In her own song and an­other by Paul Grabowsky, she purrs like a late-night torch singer. Carl Vine, An­drew Ford and Elena Kats-Ch­ernin skirt over the bound­aries of the con­cert plat­form. This is mu­sic that is deeply sat­is­fy­ing, de­liv­ered with in­sight and sen­si­tiv­ity.

Recorded in Lon­don in Fe­bru­ary, the per­for­mances are uni­formly ex­cel­lent, but the liner notes, such as they are, are dis­ap­point­ing. While it’s won­der­ful to have all 10 Wright po­ems quoted in full, there is no salient commentary about Wright or her le­gacy. No de­tails about the composers, nor du­ra­tions. No doubt fu­ture press­ings will ad­dress these ba­sic omis­sions.

On this land­mark al­bum, Noo­nan is at the top of her game. Per­haps only mo­men­tar­ily: with each new ven­ture, she leads her­self and her lis­ten­ers to higher lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence and sheer de­light.

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