Reviews

"The masterpiece of the evening was the first piece, Aubade composed by Harry Sdraulig. Aubade meaning dawn or early morning, it was a fantastic opening piece full of warmth and somewhat reminiscent of desert sunrises"– ClassikON

"The highlight of the evening was definitely Kaleidoscope by Australian composer Harry Sdraulig, who recently won the Cybec 21st Century Composers Award. The witty young composer has been mentored by eminent Australian composers Brenton Broadstock and Julian Yu and admits to be a grand admirer of Takemitsu. After Sdraulig’s Kaleidoscope commenced I could not help but think of Takemitsu’s soundworld and evident similarities in style. Although the work has never been conceptualised as music for film it would work well as such and fitted the concert’s theme perfectly. After an explosive start the music turns spheric immediately and later becomes a dance. The work has been written for a small string group (double strings and double bass) juxtaposed to a rather large woodwind, brass and percussion group. Sdraulig balanced the instrumental sections with finesse and the powerful grooves—solidly supported by the MSO percussion section—enhanced the overall impression. The MSO seemed to enjoy playing the work and the audience loved their home-grown music."– Classic Melbourne

"Harry Sdraulig's new Kaleidoscope: striking in its construction and dramatic vehemence if let down by a lack of sufficient strings to do the score full justice."– Sydney Morning Herald

"Harry Sdraulig’s Kaleidoscope was chosen as the first Cybec piece of the festival. Sdraulig was able to develop the piece with guidance from the composers Julian Yu and Brenton Broadstock. In a short interview with De Ridder, Sdraulig explained that he wanted to make the most of the timbre of each instrument in the orchestra. Like the coloured crystals of a kaleidoscope, each instrumental colour shines through the rich orchestral texture. Sharp attacks from the keyboard percussion punctuate winding, Stravinskian woodwind lines and driving string-section rhythms."– Partial Durations

"Joel Brennan, on a flugelhorn, also played Harry Sdraulig’s 2014 Ballade from the gallery. This is an exceptionally fine work, and was played with enormous subtlety by the soloist, who conjured an introspective tone from his instrument. It is hard to give a proper impression of Sdraulig’s style, which seems to be a highly personal take on the music of the English Pastoralists. This is one of the more interesting contemporary works I have heard recently, idiomatically written for both organ and flugelhorn and with more than enough interest to sustain its length. Sdraulig’s is a compositional voice well worth keeping an ear on."– Classic Melbourne

“Starting off the afternoon was the world premiere of Harry Sdraulig's commissioned work 'Speak'. In two parts the first being 'Dialogue' was a brilliant energetic painting of wild conversation. I was at first amongst the caricatures of man like birds pecking with pointed beaks as they pranced around the camp fire and at the same time rushing noisily around a big city intersection. The animated yelling and squawking , the exchange of loud conversation in a busy land. Perhaps just me but it was so vibrant and as I said i saw both an aboriginal fire gathering and perhaps rush hour in the city both at the same time. We then moved to the second part 'Inner Speak' and it was now internal, more contemplative, relaxed and measured. I simply loved this piece and did get to congratulate sincerely the young composer Harry who was there.” – Barry Stone

"The first half of Sunday’s substantial program began with the premiere performance of Crossway for Orchestra, by Harry Sdraulig, commissioned by the Zelman Symphony for this event. A work in four movements, it takes us on a journey from misguided optimism to yearning for tranquillity, through uncomfortable energetic hostility, to brokenness, and finally to hope. Influenced by his connection to war through Polish grandparents, Sdraulig’s work is contemporary but tonal, and uses orchestral colour and changing rhythmic devices to expressive effect. The orchestra handled these aspects very capably, and highlights included a very expressive violin solo (Wilma Smith), some exciting brass and percussion, and an oboe solo calling as though a human voice, leading the way from darkness towards hope, where we heard long sections of unison playing in the orchestral parts, a gesture to unity. The composer was acknowledged warmly as he entered the stage from the stalls where he had been listening along with a large audience."– Classic Melbourne

"Crossway, a work newly commissioned by the Zelman from Harry Sdraulig, opened the concert. Cast in a traditional four-movement mould, Crossway is a confident and expressive symphonic essay that is perhaps somewhat flavoured by American symphonists of the last century. Sdraulig, a Melbourne-born but Sydney-based composer, pays homage to his Polish grandparents; his grandmother was a member of the Polish resistance and his grandfather played trumpet in a Polish army band and was interned as a prisoner of war. The slow-movement violin solo, sensitively delivered by Smith, enhanced the work’s poignant moments."– Limelight Magazine

"Harry Sdraulig's four-panel piquant Crossway enjoyed its world premiere."– Sydney Morning Herald

"Sdraulig’s Evocations are my favourite of Sdraulig’s pieces. Delicate and detailed they are, as he writes in his program note, “incantations” with a ceremonial quality that Plexus achieves with extreme focus and coordination across the ensemble. There was something nicely detached in this music, like surveying a model city with its tiny figures painted in bold block colours."– Partial Durations