'This is distinctive, pungent music that demands close attention' Guardian 2005


No Title Required

Metier MSVCD92056

Paul Driver, Sunday Times (September 2002)

This disc by the ensemble Double image remembers the South-African English composer Priaulx Rainier (1903-86) and brings forward the work of the Australian-born (1965) Sadie Harrison...The two movements of the title piece are a response to a polish poet by Harrison, whose sonata-like After Colonna for cello (Miriam Lowbury) and piano (David Carhart) is a fine and passionate statement.

Gary Higginson, Music Web (September 2002)

I must not forget the other interesting female composer represented here who almost gets half the disc’s playing time, the Australian, Sadie Harrison. In fact it is her piece ‘No title required’ written in 1994, (the title taken from the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska) which gives the CD its curious nomenclature. It is the only work here for all five members of ‘Double Image’. It is a two movement investigation of the ‘poems’ images of “revolutions, tyrannies and political conspiracies in relation to skimming shadows, fluttering white butterflies and wind-blown clouds" to quote the composer in the CD booklet. This is a good example of how a listener should best listen to the music first and then possibly read the composer’s notes. It is a dramatic piece, which draws one in effectively. Its ideas are arresting and thoughtfully developed. The first movement gives a chance for the group to show their virtuosity in its speed and technical demands.

‘Three Expositions’ is for unaccompanied flute and in duration, at just over eight minutes the composer seeks to develop three short ideas stated at the start – Three Expositions. Expert flautists could do worse than add this beautifully constructed and fascinating work to their repertoire; it should rank alongside Debussy and Varèse.

Finally ‘After Colonna’ is an impassioned 12-minute exploration of a 15th Century myth - effectively a Romance for cello and piano. The composer’s notes make its complex antecedents fairly clear so I will say no more except that I have come to admire it greatly. This, in addition to Harrison’s other two works recorded here, points to a composer of considerable potential and power, although I find the comment by Nicola Lefanu that she defies categorisation unhelpful and inaccurate. Lefanu says that Boulez is an influence (I’m not so sure). Peter Sculthorpe’s name came to mind more naturally while listening to Harrison’s music

Grant Chu Covell, La Folia 4:3 (November 2002)

Sadie Harrison’s No Title Required is the showstopper here. It uses the same instrumental combination as Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano) but bears no resemblance to that groundbreaking work. Harrison’s quintet is in two movements, a form that invites contrasts and surprises. The musical content unfolds as a set of variations. Harrison writes detailed passages where two instruments play as one, particularly in the first movement where the winds and strings pair off momentarily to form a double duo, and in other places the high instruments play in unison against a paired cello and left-hand piano. In the second movement, we get some atmospheric sliding clarinet and flute sounds over a steady piano.

Three Expositions are three well-crafted works for solo flute. Alternately dreamy and vigorous, After Colonna is a substantive single movement for cello and piano, based on an esoteric 15th-century mythological romance. Ensemble Double Image has forged a rewarding partnership with Harrison, and their hard work has paid off with exemplary performances of interestingmusic. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

John Warnaby, Musical Opinion (April 2003)

Sadie Harrison has clearly absorbed more recent developments, but there is a similar tendency to find an individual response to the most radical forms of expression. No Title Required, for five players, is probably the most demanding, and consequently the most interesting piece on the disc. Three Expositions is more abstract, but sustains the solo Flute line very successfully. After Colonna, for Cello and Piano, was inspired by a 15th- century romance. It has the form of a three-movement sonata, but is based on a strong narrative outline.