Gordon Kerry: Musica Viva’s 2012 Featured Composer
2012 is a busy year for Musica Viva’s Featured Composer Gordon Kerry. Not only are his works being performed in five of our International Concert Season tours, his opera Midnight Son receives its world premiere in May. He is currently dividing his time between his home in regional Victoria and Victorian Opera’s Melbourne rehearsal space, but has made time to work with the St Lawrence String Quartet on his Elegy for String Quartet and will attend some of the concerts in this tour.
Kerry finds inspiration for his compositions in many ways. “A number of my works have had their generative moment in a poetic image or thought” while others have “been in some way related to the idea of the sea” or are more purely abstract. And while he sees chamber music as a form that can express profound thoughts, it is also very much “about the formal processes – creating drama with the slender means afforded by a trio or a quartet, as against an orchestra, where it’s possible to make a great deal of noise – you don’t have that luxury in writing a string quartet or trio, so the formal processes have to be much more rigorous.”
Carl Vine says of Kerry, “Gordon’s ideas don’t hurl themselves at an audience, but rather insinuate their presence, encouraging reflection and leaving persistent traces that invite repeated hearing.”
The Elegy performed on this tour was written at a time of personal loss. Kerry says, “Over its ten minute span the piece keeps coming back to the opening series of chords, but explores passages of counterpoint, as well as faster-moving and occasionally gritty sections. And finally, after all players have had something significant to do and passed through some dark times, the piece ends in C major.”