Australian composer, music educator, and pianist Margaret Brandman presents her debut Navona release SENSATIONS, featuring several of her celebrated compositions, each one presenting a unique musical experience and sensation.
The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra skilfully performs the orchestral portion, opening with the joyful Love Brings Change (Adagio for Strings). Pianist Lucie Kaucká joins the orchestra for Lyric Fantasy, an emotional and accessible two-movement work with contrasting moods for piano and strings. In the two-movement Undulations, also for strings, Brandman portrays the elegant flowing movement of the ocean waves on Australia’s eastern seaboard. In the central orchestral piece, the programmatic three-movement Firestorm Symphony for full orchestra, Brandman effectively captures the shimmering heat, dangerous wind and approaching fire along with the sounds of the native birds, during the terrifying experience of Australian Blue Mountains’ bush fires which threatened her family home, the sorrowful aftermath and eventual renewal of the bush.
The chamber music portion, featuring violinist Vit Mužík and pianist Lucie Kaucká, opens with Binna Burra Dreaming, which centres on the aboriginal Binna Burra world heritage site in Australia’s Gondwana rainforest. The Eastern Spinebill and the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos Herald a Blue Mountains' Bush Fire, a vibrant reduction of the first movement of Firestorm Symphony, explores more closely the wildlife affected by the Blue Mountains’ bush fires. Mužík and Kaucká round out their contributions with the Latin-American-styled Jucaro Rhumba D’Amor. Also featured on the chamber music portion are piano pieces performed by Brandman herself. Following the impressionistic and lyrical piano solo Autumn Rhapsody, Brandman is joined by pianist Marcello Maio for Spirit Visions, a two-piano work inspired by the tone colours of the Sydney Town Hall organ. This piece, like the many others on this release, embodies the bright and jazzy style that makes Brandman’s music so distinctive.
Brandman is an accomplished pianist. She performed at her recent ‘Rhapsodies to Rhumbas’ concert series, featuring only her own compositions performed by a team of 12 musicians and singers. Brandman has performed her own compositions at concerts and festivals in Australia, New York, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom. Brandman is a represented composer at the Australian Music Centre and has composed numerous orchestral, chamber, and solo works, many of which are published by the German publishing house ‘Furore Music.’ Her music has received airplay and been performed across the world, including in her native Australia, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Cuba. Brandman is also a professional arranger and has been a member of the Music Arrangers Guild of Australia for over 40 years.
Brandman has received numerous honours and awards. The International Biographical Society has awarded her “International Woman of the Year for Services to Music,” as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. She has also received the World Forum’s “Distinguished Intellectual Contribution Award” and the World Piano Teachers Association’s “Diploma of Excellence in Piano Pedagogy” for her presentation The Geometry of the Piano and the Symmetry of the Hands.