Sarah Elise Thompson
Written by Paul Cooke
Sarah Elise Thompson is a young Sydney-based composer who studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Gerard Brophy. She has received commissions from a wide range of artists, including The Song Company, Australian Youth Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring, PLEXUS and Deborah Cheetham, some of whom return the favour and appear on this album. The longest work, at just under ten minutes, is Undone, which won the Emerging Composer Competition at the inaugural Women in Music Festival in 2019.
It features a surprisingly romantic violin introduction, leading into an impassioned performance by soprano Deborah Cheetham of lyrics by poet Stephanie Millett. In the shortest piece, Core, a double bass emerges from silence, only to give way to exultant trumpet and rippling piano. Striking Out, performed by Ensemble Offspring, features measured wind and dark string notes over searching percussion. Elsewhere Thompson offers the listener tantalising glimpses of other musical worlds, with both Sanddollar and Pink Salt ‘unearthing’ fragments of melody and rhythm, only to have them ebb away again. This album is a meditative joy.