8th Sun River Prize – Students New Composition Competition
Chengdu, PR China, 2012
From the Review Committee Chairman of the award-winning comment
October 18, 2012, 8th Sun River Prize – Students New Composition Competition was successful conclusion. Six different entries from the United States, Italy and China were received the awards and bonus. The chairman of the International Society for Contemporary Music, the Chairman of the Australia Music Centre, the review committee chairman of 8th Sun River Prize Mr Davis were given the recognition and evaluation for the six award pieces.
Composer: Amit Gilutz
For ensemble (clarinet, harp, piano, violin, cello)
This is a mystical and magical work, which does not travel far musically from the beginning to the end, but it provides a rich and satisfying musical experience for the listener. The composer uses very focussed and specific ideas, expressed in a detailed and concentrated way, achieving maximum outcomes from the use of very limited materials. The ideas develop in a limited, but very intelligent way.
The piece shows excellent use of instrumental colours, and very effective use of instruments. The colours expand in a minimalist way, but provide a rich result, with the composer “bending” the colours in a unique and personal way, and integrating the colours of each instrument. The listener is drawn into the composer’s sound world in a very effective way.
Composer: Nicholas Omiccioli
For string quartet
This piece opens in a very familiar way, with each instrument joining in turn, but from this point it develops in a much unexpected way. The musical elements “disintegrate” into fragments which then move into allotropic textures, very effectively realised. It effectively builds up energy, pushing the music forward in an active and expressive way. A particular characteristic is the powerful and effective use of counterpoint.
The piece is idiomatically very well written for the string quartet, demonstrating the composer’s excellent understanding of the ensemble. Cleaver use of instrumental registers, often very close registers between the instruments, exploiting instrumental colours very well.
Composer: Zhang Zhi-liang
Title: Cursive Hand II
For ensemble (clarinet, trombone, piano, violin, viola, cello, percussion)
This piece is characterised by energy and a pulse which drives the music very effectively, without becoming predictable. The notation on the page is very practical, and on the surface does not immediately give away the special character of the work. The composer uses simple means to create a very interesting musical experience, and show effective use of texture and instrumental timbre.
Composer: Zhou Shu
For ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, piano, percussion)
This piece has a strong flow and direction, unfolding in a very natural way. Graceful, and charmingly naive, it is music that is characterised by a gentle innocence. This piece demonstrates a high level of craft, and shows great confidence in how the ideas are rendered – like a painter with a very secure brush. It is not a piece that shocks, or presents anything unexpected, but it takes the listener gently through its own musical landscape.
Composer: Liu Chang
Title: The red shadow
for string quartet
This piece has a classic new music opening gesture, grabbing the listeners’ attention. There is a raw quality to the music, with very effective use of big gestures that provide a structural shape to the work. These gestures provide marked events in the piece that give it a particular character, and very good contrast is made between moments of chaos, and highly controlled more simple, detailed moments, that build up to the next gesture. The composer shows a very good sense of drama in the work, which contributes to shaping the structure of the piece.
Composer: Lorenzo Troiani
For ensemble (flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and percussion)
This piece presents a very sensitive and special sound world. It has sparse textures, ebbing and flowing through the piece, which are managed very well by the composer. The instrumental writing is very delicate, very precise; the smallest thing can be seen to be an enormous event in this piece. It takes very effective application of compositional craft to achieve this effect.