Electric Phoenix (2011-2016)
Electric Phoenix was always destined to be an interesting and troublesome piece, a symphonic concerto for a rarely heard of, let only heard, instrument. I'm incredibly grateful to Peter's work discussing and workshopping this piece back and forth for roughly five years now and to Alison for battling through the piano reduction! I believe the final results are well worth the wait.
So, what to do with this amazing instrument? Electric Phoenix plays into the EWI's expressive abilities, huge pitch range and shifting tone colour to create a dramatic concerto, full of life. The piece is written in sonata form, and as such is based around two different melodies.
The first theme (Electric Phoenix) is slow, broad and expansive representing the mythical bird in flight, it is joined at various points by the other woodwind, representing other birds (turtle doves, even a pelican!).
The second theme woven into this structure it called Heliopolis (City of the Sun), the place in ancient mythology where the Phoenix was worshipped and returned to die and be reborn. Based on this the Heliopolis theme is energetic, driving and dance-like. I like to imagine this desert city celebrating the return of its noble, mythical bird.
Peter Smith comes from a background as a classical clarinettist, completing undergraduate (2009) and postgraduate (2012) studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he has also been a casual lecturer in musicology for the past five years. As a freelance clarinettist, he has had numerous engagements with high profile ensembles, including the Sydney Chamber Opera, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and Halcyon, and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in numerous recitals at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Peter also currently teaches clarinet performance at the Australian Institute of Music.
In recent years, Peter has increasingly devoted himself to the EWI (Electric Wind Instrument). In addition to using it as a concert instrument (his recital as part of the Australasian Clarinet and Saxophone Conference in 2013 is almost certainly Australia's first solo classical EWI recital), Peter has built up a loyal online following producing multi-tracked covers of music from video games. He has released 4 albums of his own covers, and appeared on numerous cover album releases by Gamelark, The Materia Collective, Pixel Mixers, and Multiplayer. He was also a guest musician on 'Determination: Purple Side' by RichaadEB and Ace Waters, an album of covers from 'Undertale' which reached No. 1 in the Bandcamp charts in 2016.
His video game music covers can be found on his YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/Soundole
Alison Cameron is an Australian pianist, accompanist, chamber musician and educator. She studied with Larry Sitsky and David Miller graduating from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Music with Honours majoring in Accompaniment Studies and a Graduate Diploma of Education.
In 2006 Alison travelled to London to work as an accompanist and teacher. She has performed as soloist and associate artist for recordings, broadcasts, concerts and competitions throughout Australia and the United Kingdom.
This is Alison’s second recording for Kammerklang.