Reverie The Australian Voices ABC Classics In 1993, when Stephen Leek and Graeme Morton founded the Australian Voices, this group of 20 or so young singers created a sound that embodied the vitality of Australian youth. Much of their music was based on Leek’s feelings about Australia, drawing on landscape and indigenous heritage. When Gordon Hamilton was appointed the group’s director in 2009, he took it to more upmarket places: new repertoire and production values. All this figures in this elegant new album, 55 minutes of music where production values figure more highly than musical content. Several guest appearances break a sense of homogeneity, particularly the percussion playing of Claire Edwardes in Graham Lack’s striking Reverie of Bone and the surprise burst of trumpetry by James Morrison at the close of his composition Underwater Basket Weaving. Hamilton has arranged the now celebrated Elegy by Frederick Septimus Kelly, the Australian composer killed in the last days of the Battle of the Somme. Kelly’s piece memorialises his friend Rupert Brooke, but assigning the text of a Brooke poem to Kelly’s string sonorities seems a step too far. Hamilton’s setting of Waltzing Matilda strives for originality through contrasts, but its energy and vigour are overwhelmed by a surfeit of ideas. For many, the highlight and selling point will be the two sound-text pieces by Robert Davidson that provide choral backgrounds to recordings of famous voices. The first, Julia Gillard’s outburst at Tony Abbott’s misogyny, is already famous. The second, excerpts from the collected wisdom of Donald Trump, teeters precariously on the brink of bad taste.