Claire Edwards, percussion
Move Records
MD 3459
4.5 stars
Reviewed by Paul Cooke

Claire Edwards is a percussionist — described by Canberra’s City News as ‘the sorceress of percussion’ — and artistic director of Ensemble Offspring. She is conscious of the need to address the imbalance in representation of female and Indigenous composers, and Rhythms of Change, like her Ensemble’s Offspring Bites 2, consists of commissioned works by female-identifying Australian composers for either marimba or vibraphone. Some of the compositions are intended for emerging percussionists, and include Maria Grenfell’s melodically and rhythmically inventive Stings and Wings (one of its movements inspired by music she had written for the documentary Quoll Farm); Bree van Reyk’s spare but resonant Slipstream; and Anne Cawrse’s varied Dance Vignettes. A couple of the pieces reflect upon COVID-19, with Receptor, by Peggy Polias, echoing the spikes and spirals of the virus itself, and Mirroring, by Alice Chance, examining the gap between the real and the virtual forced upon us by various lockdowns. Ella Macens’ Falling Embers, for vibraphone and crotales (small, tuned metal disks), meditates on recent bushfires, illustrating in shimmering detail the ‘final glow before life burns out’.