Tall Poppies


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 TP (1-900)


Close your eyes and I'll close mine

Anna McMichael - violin
Tamara-Anna Cislowska - piano

$23   (Australian dollars)


buy at: AMC - Buywell - iTunes

Lullabies (or berceuses) have have been around as long as humans have been singing their children to sleep.

This CD presents a unique collection of (mostly) modern lullabies, many written for this project. Works by Australian composers David Chisholm, Brett Dean, Elena Kats-Chernin, Cor Fuhler, Kate Moore, Graeme Koehne and Andrew Ford sit alongside new works by Korean composer Seung-Ah Oh, Dutch composer Peter Andriaansz and American composer Robert Ashley. Works by Ravel, Sibelius, Enescu, Szymanowski and Stravinsky complete the collection, integrating the old with the new in this genre

Apart from the delectable playing of Anna McMichael and Tamara-Anna Cislowska, this CD also features some unique extended piano sounds from Fuhler’s music-box inventions, and a glass bead mobile in Moore’ work.

Read Anna MicMichael's introduction to the project at

Maurice RavelBerceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré
Jean SibeliusBerceuse, op. 79. No.6
Peter Adriaansz Palindromes Part 3
David ChisholmAxeman Lullaby
George EnescuChanson Pour Bercer
from Impressions d’enfance pour violon et piano in D major op. 28
Brett DeanBerceuse, from Berlin Music
Elena Kats-CherninLullaby for Nick
Cor Fuhler18 Spoonfuls
Karol SzymanowskiLa Berceuse D’Aïtacho Enia, Op. 52
Kate MooreBroken Rosary
Robert AshleyLullaby, for Anna McMichael
Seung-Ah OhBerceuse for violin and piano
Igor StravinskyBerceuse from the Firebird Ballet
Graeme KoehneLullaby from Lullaby and Flying Music
Andrew FordCradle Song


Unsurprisingly, a nocturnal atmosphere pervades the works assembled here -lullabies old and new - but such is the variety of styles and timbres there is never any danger of monotony. Rather, these are like watercolours rendered in what artists call chromatic greys, with the occasional shower of prismatic hues shining out of the darkness.

Earlier masters include Enescu, Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Sibelius and Ravel, whose exquisite Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré opens the program. Of the modern masters, I particularly enjoy Brett Dean's Berceuse, the violin's higher register lending it a mysterious, ethereal quality, as well as Kate Moore's inventive Broken Rosary, which evokes the stringing of beads - the title refers to a rosary belonging to Moore's late grandmother, which she broke one day as a child.

Other highlights include Peter Adriaansz's quirky Palindromes Part 3, Kats-Chernin's cute Lullaby for Nick, which was the first piece she ever wrote, age 7, but which she never wrote down until recently, Cor Fuhler's 18 Spoonfulls - the music's units relate to the small mouthfuls one must feed a child (!) - and the lullaby in the form of a passacaglia by Andrew Ford, Cradle Song. Anna McMichael and Tamara Anna Cislowska play warmly, sympathetically and with enormous affection.

A magical release.
Limelight May 2014

Lullaby. Such a lovely bit of onomatopoeia. I wonder if any of this collection have been road-tested on babies who won’t “go the f*** to sleep”.

No words. Maybe the next step is to invite contributions with words. Surely the most effective soothers are those that are sung.

Both highly regarded musical adventurers, Anna McMIchael and Tamara-Anna Cislowska have put together an interesting collection of lullabies for violin and piano.

Of the fourteen, seven are by Australian composers.

The Australians vary widely in their views of how to get a baby to sleep.

Cor Fuhler brings in magnets and four wind-up music inventions for 18 Spoonfuls, a collection of memories about feeding little children little mouthfuls of mush and Kate Moore adds a recorded glass bead mobile and multi-tracked violin to her restful Broken Rosary.

In Lullaby and Flying Music.Graeme Koehne cuddles his baby with warm waves of piano and a soothing song from the violin. Likewise Elena Kats-Chernin; her Lullaby for Nick invokes a serene image of a mother (soprano voice) crooning to her child. Brett Dean wanders into the stratosphere (Berceuse from Berlin Music); David Chisholm’s Axeman Lullaby is part of a story way beyond the scope of this project, but worth reading in the program notes, Seung-Ah Oh’s Berceuse tries different approaches ¬– as one does, in the circumstances – her baby’s eyes and ears apparently staying wide open to see what happens next.

Andrew Ford’s Cradle Song is grounded in a passacaglia, giving form and consistency to four minutes of music for a baby to go to sleep by.

The music of Close your Eyes is part of a larger project with visual images by Isabelle Vigier complementing the music. Worth looking out for.
Elizabeth Silsbury
The Music Trust © 2014

This intriguing CD began life modestly as a collection of lullabies. Instead, it invites you into the ‘night thoughts’ of composers whose minds cannot rest. and who lead you into their dreams.

This collection of 15 thought-provoklng miniatures, none lasting more than six minutes, ranges over the gamut of the zoth-centurv styles. Barely known jewels by well-known masters (Ravel, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Szymanowski and Enescu) are interleaved with rough diamonds from several contemporaries and a lustrous collection of Australians (Brett Dean, Koehne, Ford, Kats-Chernin and Kate Moore). The most beguiling is the tiny lullaby re­composed for" this project by the late US composer Robert Ashley, whose folksiness drifts us into the late night domain of his TV operas.

The surprise inclusion of Ashley reveals the breadth of reper1oire and contacts of the project’s originator. Violinist Anna McMichael returned to Australia in 2010 after 17 years performing with some of Europe’s leading orchestras and new music ensembles. She plays with authority and heart in like measure, not quite passion, more the persuasive tone of well­reasoned argument. Equally, her accompanist Tamara Anna Cislowska negotiates the diverse range of keyboard styles with just the right mix of mind and body. This natural collaboration beckons further explorations of this kind.

Not that they have exhausted the lullaby by any means: there are tonnes more out there (why do composers think ’lullaby’ and ‘violin­and-piano’ in the same breaths). Let’s hope that Tall Poppies, that brave Aussie label which takes so many risks with Aussie performance, will release more volumes of these miniatures.
Vincent Plush, The Australian, 22 March 2014

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 TP (1-900)



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