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Sally Whitwell

Philip Glass: Complete Etudes for Solo Piano

Pianist Sally Whitwell returns to the music of minimalist master Philip Glass in her latest album on ABC Classics, presenting a monumental and immersive journey for solo piano.

In 2011, Whitwell won the ARIA Award for Best Classical Album for her collection of Glass’ music Mad Rush. Since then, her relationship with the composer has deepened, centring around the Etudes – his largest and most significant work for solo piano. After hearing Mad Rush, in 2013 Glass asked Whitwell to give the world-premiere of the Etudes, alongside the composer, at the Perth International Arts Festival; he subsequently invited her to perform them again in New York and Los Angeles. This album is a result of that close collaboration.

The Etudes – 20 in all, collected together into two Books – were written over the course of two decades between 1991 and 2012, and chart the musical development of one of the most significant composers of our generation. ‘In the beginning of the series, we hear something much closer to the angry young man, rebelling against the academic musical establishment by writing and performing his signature repetitive structures that pull you into an unique meditative space (if you let them). By the end of the series we hear a much more peaceful, pragmatic human. Gone is the angry young man, and in its place a kind of lyricism that aches with the wisdom of life experience,’ Whitwell suggests.

The music is deeply personal for Whitwell, too, who memorised every note of the ninety-minute set. She recalls the first time playing to Glass, the two of them alone in the room: ‘He listened politely, then gave me a one-man round of applause at the end. “Your playing has real poetry in it,” he said. I remember thinking at that moment “I can now die happy”’.

The album was recorded by Tonmeister Virginia Read, who won the ARIA Award for Best Engineer for her previous collaboration with Sally Whitwell.

Track Listing:

PHILIP GLASS (born 1937)
Etudes for Solo Piano

CD 1:  
Book 1 Etudes Nos. 1–10

CD 2: 
Book 2 Etudes Nos. 11–20
Sally Whitwell piano

 
Release
Music can change lives. For almost 20 years, the Hush Foundation has been working with renowned Australian artists to create music of joy and calm – originally to support children in hospital, and now enjoyed everywhere from concert halls to living rooms. In this latest offering from the Hush series, pianist Tony Gould and guitarist Peter Petrucci present music that can bring optimism even in the toughest times.The Hush Foundation, under the inspirational leadership of physician Professor Catherine Crock AM, transforms the healthcare experience for patients, families and staff through music and the performing arts. It has produced 17 albums, bringing some of Australia’s finest performers and composers together in collaborative partnerships that engage with the lived experience of people in the health system and other stressful environments. Hush albums are played not only in hospitals, but also in aged care, palliative care and childcare facilities to reduce stress and anxiety. Community and international orchestras also play music composed for Hush. In 2014, Hush’s contribution to Australian music was acknowledged with the APRA/AMCOS Award for Excellence.Gathering of Kindness recognises the power of the small acts of kindness and respect that build trust and create a sense of safety and security in difficult and challenging situations. ‘When we ask patients, their families and those working in healthcare “What matters to you?”’ says Professor Crock, ‘the single word at the top of the list is kindness.’Tony Gould and Peter Petrucci wrote the music on this album with the Hush ‘family’ firmly in mind. ‘We hope they serve at least one of music’s purposes in life, and that is to help calm our fellow humans in times when things aren’t going so well. Music can do this superbly. It can also give us joy, can foster kindness and a sense that, ultimately, everything will be all right.’ This latest album has been named after the healthcare events Hush has hosted since 2016. The Gathering of Kindness bring people working in health and aged care together to talk about ways kindness can flourish in their organisations and services. These events are being hosted throughout November at metro, regional and rural healthcare organisations across Victoria, and include live performances of Hush plays and music, healthcare book launches and panels, narrative and a range of self-care workshops, as well as updates on new research being undertaken. Hush is also hosting a ticketed event at KPMG in Melbourne on Thursday 14 November.›Pianist / composer / critic / author / academic / educator Tony Gould has been involved in music in Australia for over half a century. A prolific performer, composer and recording artist across several musical genres of art music, Tony has composed and performed alongside other renowned musicians Australia-wide and internationally. His numerous accolades include membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his contribution to music.Peter Petrucci is one of Australia’s leading jazz guitarists, recognised for his virtuosity and lyricism in improvisations and artful compositions. He has released eight albums – the latest, They Know That We Know, in August 2019. Peter has performed locally and internationally supporting distinguished musicians and has appeared at numerous international jazz festivals, in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the Wangaratta, Stonnington and Queensland Jazz Festivals. TRACKLISTING 1 All Things Good2 Anthem3 Calm4 Autumn Lullaby5 Quiet6 Spring Town7 It’s Up to You8 A Little Folk Song9 Essence10 Truth and Beauty11 The Softness of Air12 The Smile Peter Petrucci guitar – Tony Gould piano Tks 1-3, 5, 8, 10-12 composed by Tony Gould.Tks 4, 6, 7 and 9 composed by Peter Petrucci.