Don Banks: Vocal and Chamber Music

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During his short life Don Banks (1923–80) enjoyed a reputation as the leading modernist among Australian composers. Studies with Mátyás Seiber, Milton Babbitt and, especially, Luigi Dallapiccola helped refine his serial technique, but his music never retreated into academic abstraction, as this recital of chamber and vocal works demonstrates: it retained a keen sense of drama, an ear for atmosphere, a rather angular lyricism and, occasionally, a touch of humour.

Robert Johnson, horn (Tracks 1–3)
Ole Böhn, violin (Tracks 1–3, 18)
Jenny Duck-Chong, mezzo-soprano (Tracks 4–8, 19–21)
Francesco Celata, clarinet (Tracks 9–11)
Geoffrey Gartner, cello (Tracks 12–14)
Rowan Phemister, harp (Tracks 19–21)
David Kim-Boyle, siren (Track 21)
Alison Pratt, Daryl Pratt and Joshua Hill, percussion (Tracks 19–21)
Daniel Herscovitch, piano

Listen To This Recording:

    Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano (1962)

  1. I Lento – Allegro moderato
  2. II Adagio espressivo
  3. III Moderato
  4. Five North Country Folk Songs (1953)*

  5. No. 1 Buy broom buzzems
  6. No. 2 My Bonny Lad
  7. No. 3 King Arthur’s Servants
  8. No. 4 Bonny at Morn
  9. No. 5 O the Bonny Fisher Lad
  10. Prologue, Night Piece and Blues for Two for clarinet and piano (1968)

  11. Prologue
  12. Night Piece
  13. Blues for Two
  14. Three Studies for Violoncello and Piano (1954)

  15. No. 1 Andante – Moderato
  16. No. 2 Lento espressivo
  17. No. 3 Allegro con brio
  18. Sonatina in C sharp minor for piano (1948)

  19. I Allegro con spirito
  20. II Largo con espressione
  21. III Risoluto – Lamentevole
  22. Sonata for Violin and Piano
  23. Tirade for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble (1968)*

  24. I Lento
  25. II Adagio – Allegro – Tempo I
  26. III Vivace – Lento


3 reviews for Don Banks: Vocal and Chamber Music

  1. :

    ‘The performance of all this material is excellent and clearly sympathetic; it is complemented by a clear and vibrant recording.’

    —John France, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘The musicians – mostly Australian, an excellent idea – do Banks proud. If these performances cannot entice an interest in his music, then nothing will.’

    —Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

  3. :

    ‘At last – a complete recording of the chamber music of one of Australia’s foremost composers. Pianist Daniel Herscovitch, who had personal connections with Banks, has assembled fine performers from NSW. […]

    In 1962, Banks wrote his horn trio, a worthy successor to that of Brahms, played here with sensitivity by Robert Johnson, Böhn and Herscovitch. Also featured are Francesco Celata’s expressive clarinet playing and Jenny Duck-Chong who sings with precise diction and expressive agility.’

    —Susan Pierotti, Stringendo

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