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Indigo Invention
I am writing...
Deep Blue...
Nunc dimittis
One Sound...
Symphony No. 3...
August Offensive
Sound Lur and...
Le Moliére...
Nocturnes...
Interludes
Prelude and...

Excerpts from Selected Reviews (works composed since 2010)

Indigo Invention (2010) (back to top)
Indigo Invention is a duet, about six minutes long, in which the violin of Alan Smith and cello of Patrick Murphy interweave, progressing from gentle to lyrical with a more energetic section in the middle. It is the sort of delectable music that leaves a smile on one’s face.”
[Gwen Bennett, “Deep blue and dirty,” Music Trust of Australia, 1 August 2015.]

“… the duet for violin and cello, Indigo Invention, has sweet melodies and an almost romantic lyricism at times.”
[Andrew Aronowicz, “Andrew Schultz, Deep blue and dirty,” Limelight, 2 October 2015.]


I am writing in this book (2011) (back to top)
“Andrew Schultz's new work, I am writing in this book, adapts texts from The Pillow Book by 10th-century Japanese writer Sei Shonagon. In a pre-performance talk, Schultz said he started working on the texts in the 1990s but when Peter Greenaway's eponymous film was released he put them to one side to avoid confusion between his work and that striking reinterpretation.

Schultz has selected five texts, moving from golden lyricism and love to a stormy list of Sei Shonagon's dislikes before a quiet close.

The first song, A gift of paper, is a quietly radiant duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano in which Sei Shonagon states she will use the gift of some paper to write things she sees, hears and knows.

Schultz's setting shares some affinities of classic female vocal duets in exploring the golden sound of female voices a third apart. It is a world away from the ''flower duet'' of Delibes's Lakme but shares some affinity with it as an orientalist representation of the female.

The third song, Language of women, erupts into something of a tantrum. While the conception of the final two quiet numbers was imaginative…”
[Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 2011.]

“The concluding composition, Andrew Schultz’s I am writing in this book, composed specially for Halcyon in 2011, set five songs in English from the tenth-century text the Pillow Book…The selections chart Shonagon’s growth as a woman from the singular vision of A gift of paper to the funereal It is getting dark, set as a ghostly duet between the voices and cello. Overlapping sibilances and intense vocal patter added character to the work’s central three movements, in which powerlessness, revulsion and wonder all played compelling parts.”
[Luke Iredale, “Winter Moon Secrets,” ClassikOn, 4 September 2015.]


Deep blue and dirty (2011) (back to top)

A rainbow stretched promisingly across the horizon as the crowds returned to the recital room in the beautiful Mt Barker Summit setting for the second half of the latest concert in the consistently excellent Ngeringa Concert Series…Andrew Schultz's Deep Blue and Dirty, commissioned by Mark Gaydon was premiered in 2011 by he and Kristian Chong. A virtuosic bassoon part held no fear.” [Peter Burdon, The Adelaide Advertiser, 1 August 2013.]

 “The evocative title … comes from a piece for bassoon and piano, one of six chamber works on this CD written between 2007 and 2011 by Andrew Schultz. In music that could be described as more ‘deep blue’ than ‘dirty’, Schultz’s flair for mixing music and words is evident, not only in two vocal compositions but also in two instrumental pieces which are influenced by text…. Deep blue and dirty was commissioned by bassoonist Mark Gaydon, who was rewarded with an excellent vehicle for his virtuosic skills. He and pianist Lucinda Collins give a lively performance of a striking work. Two themes open the work, one might be ‘deep blue’ and the other ‘dirty’, the composer tells us. A set of nine variations follow without a break – four on the first theme, four on the second and the ninth combines the two. Open chords on piano and trills on the bassoon introduce long, lyrical melodic lines, then a jazzy central section which fades down to a soft ending. This is a major addition to solo bassoon repertoire… In summary, this is memorable music performed by expert musicians, well recorded and presented.”
[Gwen Bennett, “Deep blue and dirty,” Music Trust of Australia, 1 August 2015.]

“The composer gives few clues about this piece. Feel free to muse…Mark Gaydon’s bassoon is indeed very deep, but also very high; blue and bluesy or purple or many shades of grey, occasionally grandpa grubby, rather than dirty. Pianist Lucinda Collins keeps pace with him in his own commission, crafted by Schultz to reveal the technical and expressive facets of the wind family’s elder brother. This is material to ponder on. Let your imagination plunge deep, scan the sky.”
[Elizabeth Silsbury, “Deep blue and dirty,” Music Trust of Australia, 1 August 2015.]

Deep Blue and Dirty showcases Mark Gaydon’s lyrical and full-bodied bassoon playing. The attractive timbral contrast in the bassoon is matched by an evocative piano accompaniment provided by Lucinda Collins. The rapport between the two musicians is highly effective, and probably the standout of the disc.”
[Andrew Aronowicz, “Andrew Schultz, Deep blue and dirty,” Limelight, 2 October 2015.]


Nunc dimittis (2011) (back to top)

"Schultz has entered the mind of the virgin, imagining her changing emotions, even a touch of trepidation, ending in a restrained shout of triumph that she of all women has been chosen for this mystical honour. His Magnificat is a beautiful piece, beautifully sung. It would sit well beside the Bach setting in live performance.

The modern professor recalls his classical training with an equally engaging Nunc Dimittis, wherein a lengthy passage of imitation based on the ordinary but always special tonic chord takes the ear on a safe journey to the hereafter with a happy landing."

[Elizabeth Silsbury, "Foundations," The Music Trust, 1 February 2016.]


One Sound – Quintet for flute and strings (2012) (back to top)

“By selecting the title One Sound for his quintet for flute and strings, Andrew Schultz was suggesting that a single sonority, as heard at the start of this piece, contains a galaxy of intervals and musical cells to be unfolded, explored and released.

Initially limiting itself to the most fundamental of these possibilities, the first section explored controlled, regular rhythms of clearly defined shape. When combined with harmony that sought, as it were, to derive itself from first principles, the effect was a bright pristine quality, rejoicing in contrapuntal discipline, particularly in the upper voices.

The second section moved to a warm chorale-like texture in lower strings, out of which leapt cadenza-like flourishes, sporadically at first before they proliferated in the final section with spectacular brilliance.

In keeping with the title, the overall shape was unified and whole, and the affirmative clarity of form and idea struck a new and intriguing tone.”
[Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 April 2012.]


Symphony No. 3 - Century (2012) (back to top)

"Schultz has mapped out a symphonic scheme that could be a blueprint for Canberra's long vistas and ordered avenues." Read Matthew Westwood's article in The Australian.

"The Symphony No. 3 “Century” by Andrew Schultz was a resounding success, drawing a standing ovation, wolf whistles and prolonged applause." Read the full review from Clinton White from City News.

"Century is excellent. It is epic. It is powerful and beautiful".  Read Chris Wallace's review in full.

"Composer Andrew Schultz's musical celebration of Canberra is inspired by radical ideas and bold landscapes." Read Larissa Nicholson's Canberra Times article in full.

“So too, the symphony, with its personal look at the artistic process, shows that persistence and integrity are needed in most ventures.” Read Nicole Saintilan’s “Building a city, building a symphony”, a detailed analysis of the work, in Resonate Magazine.


August Offensive (2012) (back to top)

"One of the most amazing performances that I was awake to hear was the Gallipoli Symphony playing an incredibly moving piece by Australian composer Andrew Schultz. The piece, titled The August Offensive, is part eight of ten orchestrated movements which are composed each year, leading to the 100 year anniversary. At this milestone, in 2015, all ten movements will be orchestrated into one entire symphony. The powerful and emotive music transcended time and space and so skilfully created a vivid picture of wartime." [Tim Williams, The Share Chair.]

"Wedged between these pieces was Andrew Schultz’s August Offensive. The work opened with a truly cataclysmic moment, then dropped back. Flashes of power were shot through with some lovely rich harmonies from the strings, as the piece slowly rebuilt to the devastating cacophony of its opening bar."
[Madeleine Dale, “Review: The Gallipoli Symphony,” Limelight, 28 November 2015.]


Sound Lur and Serpent (2014) (back to top)

“When he was asked to write an opening fanfare for the Sydney Symphony’s tour of China, which kicked off this week in Shanghai, Australian composer Andrew Schultz found inspiration in two places: a Munich museum and the dry, dangerous Australian bush. 

It was in the museum, on a trip in 2010, that he happened upon a Bronze Age lur; a long, often curved, horn with no finger holes. It was once thought to be used to warn and conduct troops in war. It was in the bush, where he grew up the son of a Lutheran minister, that he discovered the constant, very Australian threat, of bushfires. 

Written for brass and percussion, Schultz’s Sound Lur and Serpent is four virtuosic minutes of aggressive, swelling climaxes, that play on the notion of ancient warning and the familiar summer threat of ashen skies.”
[Joel Meares, Catastrophic fanfare brings power of Australian bushfires to Shanghai, SMH, 24 June 2014] Read more.

“If Sydney Symphony Orchestra is Australia's flagship orchestra, then composer Andrew Schultz can be seen as th0e spokesman for the country's contemporary classical music. His music has been performed and recorded by leading musicians around the world. Beijing audiences are in for a treat to see the world premiere of his new work. Foreboding and enchanting, Andrew Schultz's “Sound Lur and Serpent, Fanfare for Brass and Percussion, Opus 98" sets the tone for the evening's performance. Inspired by old brass instruments that resemble the horns of beasts and the shapes of serpents, the piece was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for their 2014 China tour, and its gives the Chinese audience a taste of New Australian Music.”
[“Sydney Symphony sets sail for China,” China Central Television, 30 June 2014]

“This piece really blows the roof off of anything and will start the concert series with the real sense of the incredible dynamism and energy that is Australia.” [David Robertson, “2014 China tour program”, Sydney Symphony Orchestra YouTube Video.]

“Eighteen brass players and another four or five percussionists arrayed along the back of the concert platform created a blazing raucous block of sound for Andrew Schultz's fanfare, Sound Lur and Serpent, that was thrilling, attention grabbing and alarming.

As Schultz noted in the program, fanfares are used in mythology to signal and celebrate, but also to warn. Taking its inspiration from the Bronze Age brass instrument, the lur, and the tuba's medieval ancestor the serpent, Schultz's fanfare did all three.

The sense of warning in this case was prompted by the Australian weather bureau's decision in 2010 to issue a "catastrophic" fire warning, "extreme" no longer sufficing to account for the growing risk. It is an arresting piece drawing on elemental sonorities to potent affect.”
[Peter McCallum, “Russian Romantics: thrilling, intense and fiery with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra,” Sydney Morning Herald, 23 July 2015.]

“This concert also marked the local premiere of Australian composer Andrew Schultz’s Sound Lur and Serpent, a short fanfare for brass and percussion first performed on the orchestra’s Chinese tour last year. Maintaining a well-blended sound, the orchestra’s brass and percussion ensemble realized Schultz’s evocative, imposing miniature with resounding power and penetrating clarity.”
[Murray Black, “Vasily Petrenko reveals Rachmaninov,” The Australian, 24 July 2015.]


Le Moliére Imaginaire (2015) (back to top)

“Andrew Schultz’s new commissioned work, Le Moliére Imaginaire captured the internal nature of the ensemble: urbane, virtuosic, cultured, witty and naughty in equal measure, offering the only time in Musica Viva’s 70-year history that a performance has concluded with the words: ‘burning piss.’”
[Carl Vine, “I Fagiolini’s Newcastle Concert”, Musica Viva Australia Blog, 28 July 2015.]
 
“Australian composer Andrew Schultz spread his wings even more widely with a wicked stagey swipe at all medicos in Le Moliére Imaginaire, with text by Timothy Knapman. A candidate for entry to the profession is quizzed by fuddy-duddies who approve the use of enemas for any ailment and applaud his aim to become rich. Pretentious pig Latin. Music to match chatty exchanges, pompous fuguey patch and hypocritical chorale.”  [Elizabeth Silsbury, “I Fagiolini,” The Advertiser, 2 August 2015.]
 
“…alluring harmonies alluding to jazz as well as harmonic dissonance. Staying true to the comedic aspect of a capella performance, there were even references to contemporary popular culture, such as Doctor Who or Renée Zellweger’s cosmetic surgery.”  
[Joseph Asquith, Musetiquette, 26 July 2015.]

“Andrew Schultz’s quizzically witty Le Moliére imaginaire, meanwhile called for less reverence. It takes the last scene of Moliére’s The Imaginary Invalid, a mock initiation ceremony for a quack doctor, and sets pious pig-Latin words by the ‘learned’ medicos against spoken English equivalents (devised by British writer Tim Knapman).”  
[Peter McCallum, “I Fagiolini,” Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 2015.]  

“Andrew Schultz’s setting of the last scene from Moliére’s Le Malade imaginaire, was specially commissioned by Musica Vivan for I Fagiolini’s tour.  Entitled Le Moliére imaginaire (Or: Keep Your Enemas Closer), this work should perhaps have come with a parental advisory, or maybe an advisory for more conservative members of the audience. The newly translated text is certainly in keeping with Moliére’s original idea of delivering a coruscating attack on the quackery of the medical profession, and relies heavily on scatological references, with some passing jibes at celebrities: ‘Rupertus Murdochio in magnum merdam cascado.’ If there was a mild possibility of offence at the lyrics, certainly none could be taken at the music, which leaned heavily towards the humorous rather than the ironic. Needless to say the singers delivered the work with great gusto, not least the final lines, ‘Infirmity’s eternal fountain long hard bouts of ‘burning piss.’”
[Tony Way, “Review: I Fagiolini (Musica Viva) at Melbourne Recital Centre,” Limelight, 29 July 2015.]

24 July 2015.]


Nocturnes and Variations (2014) (back to top)

"This captivating piece added to the growing sense that a distinct musical language is coming out of Australia which is as unique and starkly beautiful as the land itself."
[Marc Rochester, "A rare chamber treat," The Straits Times, 20/2/16.]


Interludes (2015) (back to top)

"Antony Gray is a London-based pianist who has gained praise for his recordings of Poulenc, Bach, Brahms and Goossens and one can see his skill with these composers fertilising this new disc devoted to Schultz's pianistic output. In the Adelaide-born composer's music there is a sense of space, which is entirely appropriate to the vast Australian landscape; and unlike many earlier composers, Schultz is content to write in a more neo-tonal manner without resorting to dissonance or mimicry of bird-cry.

Even in his recent Interludes (2015), there is a sense of late-Romantic intensity. And though Schultz does not regard himself as much of a pianist, there is much here – a sparseness of creative landscape, which defines modern notions of Australia. His music is more melodic than atonal, and yet almost naively deductive in its sense of logic, place and space. Here is music that is haunting and inward, searching for a sense of landscape if not comprehension.

Schultz's literary influences are disparate – from the 10th-century Japanese Pillow Book to Inventions from his own opera The Children's Bach after Helen Garner's touching novella. His counterpoint is all so appropriate, making even more sense of the Bach adopted by the primer of Garner's title, with a feeling of improvisation and expanding beauty in the right hand, set against gently resolving chords in the left. For those who wish to disappear into the seemingly understated, there is little need to look further."
[Brett Allen-Bayes, "Schultz's piano works range as widely as the great outdoors," Limelight, October 2016, p.79.]


Prelude and Postscript (2015) (back to top)

"Andrew Schultz's impressive piano music collection is deeply rooted in the unique resonant qualities of the instrument. His long-time collaborator, Antony Gray, interprets the works with both sensitivity and panache.

Covering most of the composer's piano music composed between 1987 and 2015, the collection is organised (with one minor exception) in reverse chronological order ending with Sea-Change (1987). Subverting this tracking decision, I will comment on the pieces in the order of their composition.

Sea-Change Op. 32 references the well-known "Full Fathom five" passage in Shakespeare's The Tempest. In this passage Schultz recognises the sea as a "metaphor for life and the transformation of life". Overall Sea-Change is a rather meditative work but from the outset there are contrasting dramatic and calm elements. The composer takes full advantage of the resonant sonority of the piano, initially in loud chords made up of notes at both extremes of the piano range. The work is not in any conventional sense melodic. Rather, chordal structures predominate, both arpeggiated (quickly and slowly) and non-arpeggiated. And as the piece progresses, two-note ostinati (typically of seconds or thirds) are employed to frame this broader chordal material and some abstract melodic motifs.
Barcarole Op 54a (1992) is a rather wistful work that responds to a gravestone epitaph. It is fairly tonal in its melodic design but there are some ominous-sounding extended-technique clusters used as a percussive component to the texture.

A piano adaptation from a few sections of Schultz's symphonic cantata, Journey to Horseshoe Bend,  Sleepers Wake (Karalananga) is based in part on a Lutheran hymn. It is an effective study in pandiatonicism with a few chromatic elements.

Another adaptation for piano, Four Inventions Op. 74a (2009), is from the composer's chamber opera, The Children's Bach. The mysterious "Paradise Bar Prelude" begins with a series of slowly unfolding low chords which precede a melodic element beginning minimally but blossoming as the piece progresses. "Toccata (In 2 Parts)" is, typically of the genre, a set of variations over a chord progression. "Little Interlude" is more melodic in intent; while "Poppy's Fugue (in two Parts)" demonstrates remarkable contrapuntal facility and considerable musical wit.

The longest work on the CD is Nocturnes and Variations Op. 96 (2014), composed in three movements. The two nocturne movements begin and end the piece. Like the earlier Sea-Change work, these movements explore chordal sonority and textural variation rather than melodic lines or motivic development. There is an emphasis on the dark sonorities at the low end of the piano. In fact Schultz writes in the CD booklet that he has ended the last movement with notes that are below the range of a standard piano. In the score he provides an alternative ending for performers without access to or inclination to use the piano models that can facilitate this ideal ending. The central movement consists of a set of 31 variations on a four-bar chromatic chord progression that is heard at the outset. Although this is a much more straight-forward structure, the approach is much the same as in the nocturnes, that is with an emphasis different types of variation and figuration to decorate the chords. None the less there is a compelling sense of textural development in this movement and its mood is, by contrast to the nocturnes, very spirited.
The "Prelude" of Prelude and Postscript Op. 100 No 1 (2015) has a French impressionistic quality in its harmonies and motivic development. Certainly it is much more conventionally melodic than its predecessor and has a strong forward-moving energy. The  "Postlude", by contrast, is very slow and static. It is almost entirely focused on melodic material that is supported by sporadic low resonant chords.

The CD opens with Interludes Op. 100 No. 2 (2015), a work adapted from Schultz's vocal work, I am writing in this book (2011. The first movement of this two-movement work, "A Gift of Paper", has a strong romantic music era quality with a big melody supported by rich chordal textures. The second, "Secret Meetings" develops a forward-driving quality mostly using conventional harmonic and melodic shapes but the movement ends in a fairly static exploration of upward-rising arpeggiated chords.
Antony Gray's interpretation and execution of all these pieces is hard to criticise. He demonstrates a high level of technical competence and a great sensitivity to Schultz's interest in piano resonance.

[Michael Hannan, "Andrew Schultz Piano Music," Loud Mouth - Music Trust E-Zine, 4 October 2016.]


Prelude and Postscript (2015) (back to top)

"Andrew Schultz's impressive piano music collection is deeply rooted in the unique resonant qualities of the instrument. His long-time collaborator, Antony Gray, interprets the works with both sensitivity and panache.

Covering most of the composer's piano music composed between 1987 and 2015, the collection is organised (with one minor exception) in reverse chronological order ending with Sea-Change (1987). Subverting this tracking decision, I will comment on the pieces in the order of their composition.

Sea-Change Op. 32 references the well-known "Full Fathom five" passage in Shakespeare's The Tempest. In this passage Schultz recognises the sea as a "metaphor for life and the transformation of life". Overall Sea-Change is a rather meditative work but from the outset there are contrasting dramatic and calm elements. The composer takes full advantage of the resonant sonority of the piano, initially in loud chords made up of notes at both extremes of the piano range. The work is not in any conventional sense melodic. Rather, chordal structures predominate, both arpeggiated (quickly and slowly) and non-arpeggiated. And as the piece progresses, two-note ostinati (typically of seconds or thirds) are employed to frame this broader chordal material and some abstract melodic motifs.
Barcarole Op 54a (1992) is a rather wistful work that responds to a gravestone epitaph. It is fairly tonal in its melodic design but there are some ominous-sounding extended-technique clusters used as a percussive component to the texture.

A piano adaptation from a few sections of Schultz's symphonic cantata, Journey to Horseshoe Bend,  Sleepers Wake (Karalananga) is based in part on a Lutheran hymn. It is an effective study in pandiatonicism with a few chromatic elements.

Another adaptation for piano, Four Inventions Op. 74a (2009), is from the composer's chamber opera, The Children's Bach. The mysterious "Paradise Bar Prelude" begins with a series of slowly unfolding low chords which precede a melodic element beginning minimally but blossoming as the piece progresses. "Toccata (In 2 Parts)" is, typically of the genre, a set of variations over a chord progression. "Little Interlude" is more melodic in intent; while "Poppy's Fugue (in two Parts)" demonstrates remarkable contrapuntal facility and considerable musical wit.

The longest work on the CD is Nocturnes and Variations Op. 96 (2014), composed in three movements. The two nocturne movements begin and end the piece. Like the earlier Sea-Change work, these movements explore chordal sonority and textural variation rather than melodic lines or motivic development. There is an emphasis on the dark sonorities at the low end of the piano. In fact Schultz writes in the CD booklet that he has ended the last movement with notes that are below the range of a standard piano. In the score he provides an alternative ending for performers without access to or inclination to use the piano models that can facilitate this ideal ending. The central movement consists of a set of 31 variations on a four-bar chromatic chord progression that is heard at the outset. Although this is a much more straight-forward structure, the approach is much the same as in the nocturnes, that is with an emphasis different types of variation and figuration to decorate the chords. None the less there is a compelling sense of textural development in this movement and its mood is, by contrast to the nocturnes, very spirited.
The "Prelude" of Prelude and Postscript Op. 100 No 1 (2015) has a French impressionistic quality in its harmonies and motivic development. Certainly it is much more conventionally melodic than its predecessor and has a strong forward-moving energy. The  "Postlude", by contrast, is very slow and static. It is almost entirely focused on melodic material that is supported by sporadic low resonant chords.

The CD opens with Interludes Op. 100 No. 2 (2015), a work adapted from Schultz's vocal work, I am writing in this book (2011. The first movement of this two-movement work, "A Gift of Paper", has a strong romantic music era quality with a big melody supported by rich chordal textures. The second, "Secret Meetings" develops a forward-driving quality mostly using conventional harmonic and melodic shapes but the movement ends in a fairly static exploration of upward-rising arpeggiated chords.

Antony Gray's interpretation and execution of all these pieces is hard to criticise. He demonstrates a high level of technical competence and a great sensitivity to Schultz's interest in piano resonance.

[Michael Hannan, "Andrew Schultz Piano Music," Loud Mouth - Music Trust E-Zine, 4 October 2016.]

 

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