AVÉ — Australian Vocal Ensemble
Written by Paul Cooke
AVÉ is a recently formed, Queensland-focused a cappella vocal quartet, whose members are Katie Noonan, Fiona Campbell, Andrew Goodwin, and Andrew O’Connor. Stars is their first release, a half-hour collection of works by six composers: Australians Stephen Leek, Anne Cawrse, Jessica Wells, Robert Davidson, and Andrew Goodwin, together with J.S. Bach. The first four compositions are excerpts from a 12-piece, multi-composer song cycle with lyrics by acclaimed Australian writer David Malouf. I was particularly impressed by the lift and lilt of Jessica
Wells’s In the sea’s giving. The fifth work features a Lutheran hymn melody as set by Bach, together with the words of the hymn sung in German and in three Indigenous languages, which beguilingly weave in and out amongst each other. The final work, Peace I leave with you, is composed by ensemble member Andrew Goodwin, a fitting conclusion to an album that recognises the healing force of music and creates, in Katie Noonan’s words, “a sound world that I hope will bring succour and joy”.