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Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany | Saveja

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Classical: Contemporary Avant Garde: Structured Improvisation Moods: Instrumental
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by Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany

Saveja is the flute and harp duo of Belinda Woods and Mary Doumany. The duo explores and crosses the maleable boundaries between highly notated and improvised musics, utilising the capabilities of two extraordinarily versatile musicians.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Unanswered Question
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
4:17 $2.00
2. Pardalote
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
7:36 $2.00
3. The Divide, Pt.II
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
6:28 $2.00
4. The Divide, Pt. III
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
6:42 $2.00
5. Fortunata
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
6:02 $2.00
6. Through the Cracks
Belinda Woods & Mary Doumany
10:37 $2.00
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Belinda and Mary are composers and performers of works across many genres and enjoy combining the territories of these varied styles of music. Their works traverse many landscapes, capturing scenes of rich complexity and simple brevity. With unique approaches to their respective instruments, Belinda and Mary take the flute and harp duo to new levels, creating sounds and textures that are expansive, multi-dimensional and at times unexpected.

The compositions presented on this album have been developed over a number of years as a duo with the intention of melding compositional frameworks with improvisation. Whilst the compositions themselves are played with integrity, with harmonic and energetic structures retained, the blending of improvisation techniques into the works allow each player to contribute as an individual, spontaneously utilising their own unique, expressive devises to offer realisations of personal discoveries.

Review by Andrew Lindsay...

Free, open, lulling, gorgeous are the first words that come to mind on hearing this recording. It’s a series of duets for flute and harp, the flute player is Belinda Woods, the harpist is Mary Doumany.

There’s a delight in hearing music that defies a category. Is this jazz, or new chamber music, or…

Frankly, who gives a toss, when we are brought face to face with the sublime and the exquisite?

I missed the Melbourne launch, at Northcote’s Open Studio, though friends who caught it were rapturous. Having already heard the CD I was envious, but not surprised. Days after the launch I bumped into Belinda Woods, who has written the music, and asked her what it was all about.

‘Imagine two Melbourne jazz girls get together and decide to do something different!’ was her response.

Two Melbourne jazz girls. They both have profound groundings in classical and neo-classical traditions, and yet they also share a love of jazz and improvisation. They are both virtuosic players.

I asked Ms Wood how much of the music had been composed before the recording, and how much had been improvised.

‘Does it all sound composed?’ she asked, because to my ears it did. She revealed a magician’s secret.

‘The first track was completely notated. Other pieces exist as charts….’

If that is true, then there are glories of improvisation revealed, and concealed, on this beguiling work. The communication between the players, and the improvisations they achieve together, are marvels. It sounds classical because it’s flute and harp, and rejoices in revealing some vital musical underbelly. And yet it also reeks of jazz.

It poses the question of what jazz can and cannot be. And finally renders the question obsolete, in the face of its understated beauty, and the bliss and hauntings that it inspires, and revels in. Prepare for awe, and wonder, and delight.

There are exquisite voicings on the flute, and flute players will know how difficult some passages are to achieve, while making them seem so effortless. Ms Doumany’s gentle command of the harp renders the loquacious mute.

It’s surprising that Ms Woods has chosen this as her first release of her own compositions. Over the last decade I’ve heard her play in Bohjass, and Meter Maid, and the errant womens’ marching band The Red Brigade, and Lo-Res, who only play her compositions. It’s a marvellous, quirky, even risky feat, but those who know her playing will recognise some fundamental aspect of the woman in this choice. Her music is lyrical, reflective, and impulsive. A self-portrait achieved for flute and harp?

I play Saveja to a friend, then ask ‘Can I call this jazz?’ She is adamant that I can’t, but I’ve always enjoyed pulling a long bow. If you’re a lover of new music, virtuosity, and sweet invention, you might want to check these two chicks out…and to my mind, it’s definitely jazz, it’s just a jazz we haven’t heard before. It is both lyrical and edgy, the players make fantastic choices, and as it ends, you’re waiting for the notes that never come, some vital space is left, and that empty space is full of music that’s not yet played, the jass that’s yet to come…



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