Robert Davidson Composer

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Multimedia works

These compositions combine documentary materials with live music to create distinctive, compelling storytelling

 
 
Sonya Lifschitz plays Stalin’s Piano at City Recital Hall, Sydney

Sonya Lifschitz plays Stalin’s Piano at City Recital Hall, Sydney

Stalin’s Piano for solo pianist (2018)

On March 5 1953, Joseph Stalin died in his bed. Spinning on his record player was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, performed by his pianist of choice, the formidable Maria Yudina.

An outspoken champion of new music and artistic freedom, Yudina was banned, suspended or exiled time after time. Yet, whilst so many of her fellow artists ‘disappeared’ or were purged by the KGB, Yudina outlasted Stalin and lived to tell her story.

Stalin’s Piano, conceived with and for the Ukranian-born and equally fearless pianist Sonya Lifschitz, takes us into the heart of the ever-simmering conflict between state and individual, with contributions from people as diverse as Goebbels, Ai Wei Wei, Jackson Pollock, Whitlam and Yudina herself.

Weaving together virtuoso piano music, the recorded voices of iconic creative and political figures, video and Sonya’s speaking voice, this new composition is a devastating and captivating exploration of the big themes of modern history.

 
Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivers her speech decrying misogyny in parliament

Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivers her speech decrying misogyny in parliament

Not Now, Not Ever!

When I heard Julia Gillard's parliamentary speech addressing misogyny, it struck me that behind the politics there was a lot of personal feeling being communicated. I wanted to put a frame around this slice of time, to heighten my perception of what was being said behind the words, in the intonation of the voice, and in the dynamics of what was being said in interjections and reactions. The resulting choral piece, in which the singers echo and support the Prime Minister's speech melodies, is initially quite humorous, as we are confronted with the melody that perhaps was not evident to us before. As the music goes on, it passes into something more serious, and (it is hoped) we hear the Prime Minister as a woman experiencing very real emotions.

 

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