One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra



A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

an inspirational performance

An indispensable acquisition

The finest we have had in years

bewitching sound

Simply amazing

A splendid addition

One of the most enjoyable

quite superb!

utterly essential

A wonderful introduction

An outstanding CD


One of the finest versions

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
William BARTON (b.1981)
Birdsong at Dusk [11:34]
Improvisation [4:23]
Petrichore [11:52]
7/8 Not Too Late [3:33]
Dreamtime Duet [2:32]
Didge Fusion [7:36]
William Barton (didgeridoo, vocals and guitar)
Kurilpa String Quartet; Delmae Barton (vocals); John Rodgers (violin)
rec. 25 August 2013, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Studio 420, Brisbane Southbank.
ABC CLASSICS 4810962 [41:57]

The name William Barton is by no means unfamiliar, having appeared as soloist in Sean O’Boyle’s River Symphony (review), and with ABC Classics also having released titles such as Kalkadungu (review) as well as in his work with composer Peter Sculthorpe.

The sounds of this album balance the didgeridoo as an equal partner with the other instruments. With plenty of distinctive singing and expressive string quartet writing this is not only a remarkable meeting of cultural sonorities but also a deeply personal statement. You might expect to hear birdsong in the opening title Birdsong at Dusk, but this is more like an extended aria or adagio, the final three minutes or so picking us and the quartet up and taking us aloft with driving didgeridoo rhythm.

Improvisation has perhaps more to do with sounds in nature, open fifth strings in the cello suggesting a wide horizon and a violin exploring twittering in the undergrowth, while the second half grows over that dancing pulse which would seem ideal for ruminative dancing. Petrichore is string quartet-led, with the didgeridoo adding percussive and conversational effects. The combination of these instrumental worlds works surprisingly well, though it is Barton's individualistic way with one of Western music’s cultural icons which brings them together. Barton’s statement on this is revealing, as he sees these qualities not as contrasts but as an opportunity to express “songlines of a universal kind ... A canvas of cultural identity which is retouched with everyone’s own unique story, perception and interpretation of life.” The unity of strings and didgeridoo becomes almost as natural as that with clarinet or any other wind instrument, bearing in mind that the didgeridoo speaks in a language other than the more familiar notes on a stave.

7/8 Not Too Late is for didgeridoo alone, William Barton exploring the insides of his instrument with a remarkably complex range of tones and multiphonics. He creates original music within the wide technical possibilities of this apparently simple tube, at times with a witty touch, ‘check this out ...’, and with no need for special effects or electronic fudge. The opening of Dreamtime Duet could be something like a feedback guitar, but circular breathing generates a bed of sound over which Delmae Barton’s vocals rise with a feeling of expressive defiance. The final track, Didge Fusion, has violinist John Rodgers interacting with William Barton playing guitar as well as singing and playing the didgeridoo in concert - yet another colour in this already kaleidoscopic set.

This is the work of a musician who listens, both in terms of magical performances in the most sensitive of chamber music settings, but also in absorbing inspiration when composing. Barton’s description of the place in which this music saw its origins says much about its content, “overlooking the inlet on a low tide, the sun drifting to meet the sky, I listened to the birdsong at dusk.”

Dominy Clements