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Song of the Central Tree

By David Scott Hamnes

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By David Scott Hamnes, Hakan Henriksen, Nina Sautherhaug, Ole Jorgen Melhus, Ron Nagorcka, and Sten Ivar Frydenlund. By Keith Harrison, Peter Bamford, and Ron Nagorcka. Classical. Listening CD. Published by Naxos (NX.RR7924).

Item Number: NX.RR7924

On his debut release on Ravello Records, SONG OF THE CENTRAL TREE, enigmatic Australian composer Ron Nagorcka presents an eclectic collection of his chamber and electroacoustic works that highlight his affinity and aptitude for creating complex and asymmetrical rhythmic patterns, utilizing just intonation, and, in a number of works, reflecting the Australian landscape. Nagorcka's intricate cross-rhythms, use of the didjeridu and microtonal melodies reflect the influence of Australian indigenous culture, while the theory behind the rich contrapuntal and harmonic textures he achieves using microtones has roots in ancient Greece and Asia as well as medieval and renaissance Europe. He uses unique instrument combinations, including organ, MIDI keyboard, and didjeridu in a number of his pieces. Nagorcka focuses his writing on intricate rhythms, rich harmonic textures, and unique instrument combinations, using organ, MIDI keyboard, and didjeridu in a number of his pieces. Some of the works such as the title track (2010), Ceremonial Song for the Cleansing of the Wind (2013), and I Am Like a Heron (1999/2015) process vocal lines, play birdsongs, or provide solid harmonic foundations through the programming of MIDI keyboards. These and other pieces show Nagorcka as a champion of just intonation and other archaic temperaments, including "meantone," a tuning used until the 18th century. The composer shows that just intonation can undergo significant modulation and fugue-like forms in Five-Limit Fugue (2008). Music critic Roz Cheney from the Journal of the Australian Music Centre praises Nagorcka's works: "These pieces have complex rhythms; they are sometimes dense in texture and have beautiful harmonies. [This is music] that repays repeated listening." The elaborate layers of expressive harmonies, rhythmic diversity, and rich timbres in Nagorcka's music offers the listener a dynamic aural world that waits to be explored. New Classics UK describe Nagorcka's music as "... brilliantly effective electronic manipulation ... fascinating ... [and] unique" "Libretto," a series on Australia's 3MBS FM, calls Nagorcka's works "... sensuous rather than cerebral ... most rewarding ... [and] strongly recommended" The composer recently has been collaborating with musicians in Norway including expatriate Australian organist David Scott Hamnes. Hamnes and Nagorcka perform together regularly, both in Tasmania and Trondheim In 2013 a group of Norwegian musicians presented concerts of Nagorcka's music in Trondheim and Steinkjer and in 2014 they returned to the Steinkjer Church make most of these recordings Nagorcka's music is featured on the Navona compilations HEAVY PEDAL (2011), CLAVIATURES (2011), and FELT (2015) Nagorcka studied composition and electronic music at Melbourne University and the University of California San Diego in the 1970s.

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