20Up sees the AAO return to the place of its first concert: the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne. A total of twenty-five musicians will perform a range of works from Ringing the Bell Backwards, the first work written for the AAO by Founding AD Paul Grabowsky which premiered at Malthouse in 1994; Passion, which is the AAO’s take on Bach’s St Matthew Passion; Testimony, Sandy Evans’ extraordinary tribute to Charlie Parker; Struttin’, Eugene Ball’s impressionistic take on Louis Armstrong, and a brand new commission from young composer, Austin Buckett called Virtuoso Pause.
The Wilfreds’ singing seems all the more urgent when it is riding atop a band that is in this state of what we might call restrained agitation. And it is this interplay that breeds that sense of mystery, where both parties are enriching the other’s tradition; when the Dreaming of the Yolngu people intermingles with Western flights of imagination; where any demarcation line between ritual and creativity is blown away in a sand-storm of sound.
Ultimately, the questions, the searching and the transformation that results is connected to the Art Orchestra’s aim not just to reconstruct something… it’s to find a new way of making music with the Young Wägilak Group.