Richard Barrett

What can I say about the artistic relationship between ELISION and Richard Barrett? The following (and still growing!) list of works is a testimony to the deep friendship and life-long commitments of ELISION musicians to Richard’s work and to a discourse that inflects and is special to all parties involved.  Trust is critical to firing the chemistry of any collaboration and the extensive array of non-linear interactions with Richard, constantly being accumulated, readily allow for the messiness and joy of wild creation.– Daryl Buckley

My working relationship with ELISION goes back to 1990 which means it has occupied more or less half of my life, during which time around half of the compositions I’ve written have involved the ensemble. To describe the evolution of this relationship and the music and friendship it has involved would fill a book, but for now I’ll just say a couple of things. Firstly, my ideal of a working relationship with other musicians is one where all are equal participants, bringing their individual imaginations, energies and skills together into a collective arena of creativity, over and above any functional distinctions between “composer” and “interpreters”, and being able to make music like this has surely been a central factor in keeping us together for so long. Secondly, the length and depth of this relationship has enabled us to conceive and realise a still-continuing series of projects which it would be difficult to imagine coming about in any other way. I hope this is apparent to listeners too!
– Richard Barrett

Large-scale transmisi puppets and shadow projections
transmisi puppets and shadow projections- a performance-installation project with composer Richard Barrett and visual artist Heri Dono at the Tennyson Power Station, Brisbane for APT3, 1999

Works by Richard Barrett

written for and premiered by ELISION and its musicians:

Another heavenly day (1989-90) for Eb clarinet, electric guitar, contrabass, live electronics

colloid (1988-91) for solo 10-string guitar

negatives (1988-93) for 9 players with amplification, comprising the following works:

  1. delta (1990-93) for alto flute; trombone; angklung; sitar; 10-str guitar; violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass
  2. colloid-E (1988-92) solo 10-str guitar; flute; trombone; mandolin; contrabass, percussion
  3. archipelago (1990-92) for solo mandolin; bass flute/alto recorder; trombone; percussion; 10-str guitar, violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass
  4. basalt-E (1990-92) for solo trombone; percussion; violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass
  5. entstellt (1990-93) for piccolo; trombone; angklung; sitar; 12-str guitar; violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass
Opening of the Mouth installation
Part of the Midland Railway Yard workshops and the installation by CROW with composer Richard Barrett & ELISION, premiere season of Opening of the Mouth, Festival of Perth, 1997
Opening of the Mouth installation
Fish and rusted metal, installation elements by CROW for Richard Barrett’s Opening of the Mouth premiered by ELISION at the Midland Railway Yards Workshop, a commission of the Festival of Perth, 1997

Opening of the Mouth (1992-97) for soprano, mezzo soprano, ensemble (9 players) with amplification, live electronics, tapes, and texts by Paul Celan, Consisting of the following overlapping/intercut sections:

  1. Landschaft mit Urnenwesen
  2. Engführung (I) – also incorporates abglanzbeladen/auseinandergeschrieben 
  3. Largo
  4. Schneebett
  5. Zungenentwürzeln
  6. Tenebrae
  7. Engführung (II) – also  incorporates von hinter dem Schmerz
Christian Eggen conducting Dark Matter
Christian Eggen conducting Dark Matter at the Brisbane Powerhouse 2001.

DARK MATTER (1990-2002) for 19 musicians of the ELISION and Cikada ensembles, electronics, installation by Per Inge Bjørlo, soprano 2030 0000 2perc 2gtr pf/chamber organ 2121 electronics (2 performers) with texts from the Pyramid Texts, Hesiod, Hippolytos, Anaxagoras, Melissos, the Orphic Hymns, Lucretius, Pascal and Beckett

nothing elsewhere (1987-2005) for viola solo

codex IV (2004-06) an improvisational structure for 9 players

codex IX (2008) an improvisational structure for 9 players

codex XI (2010) an improvisational structure for 7 players

Graeme Jennings
Graeme Jennings performing the virtuoso cycle ‘wound’ pieces at HCMF 2011, part of the world premiere of CONSTRUCTION, composer Richard Barrett

CONSTRUCTION (2003-11) (resistance & vision part 8/8) for 3 voices, 16 instrumentalists and electronics comprising the following works:

  1. Politeia (2003-11) for recorder, flugelhorn, percussion, baroque double harp, electric guitar, plus 3 saxophones (tenor, baritone, bass), bassoon, trombone, violin, viola, cello
  2. wound (2009-11) for solo violin with oboe, clarinet, percussion, lap steel guitar, percussion
  3. heliocentric (2005-11) for 10 instruments and electronics (incorporates the duos Adocentyn, Aurora, Hypnerotomachia)
  4. news from nowhere (2005-11) for wind-instrument players (each with at least 3 instruments), 1 percussionist, (optionally) 3 or more “drone-instruments”
  5. Hekabe-alpha (2005-11) text from Euripides, Troiades, for contralto, piccolo, sopranino recorder, 2 contrabass clarinets, triple harp, contrabass
  6. Kassandra (2005-11) text from Euripides, Troiades, for soprano, oboe, clarinet in Bb, alto saxophone, flugelhorn, triple harp, viola
  7. Andromakhe (2005-11) text from Euripides, Troiades for contralto, 3 bass clarinets, bassoon, triple harp, cello
  8. Helene (2005-11) text from Euripides, Troiades for soprano, tenor recorder, triple harp, marimba
  9. Hekabe-beta (2005-11) text from Euripides, Troiades for soprano, contralto, countertenor, piccolo/alto flute, bassoon, piccolo trumpet, trombone, triple harp, violin
  10. ON (2005-11) for an ensemble of 5 or more improvising performers
  11. Germania (2005-11) for 3 voices and 17 instruments, text from Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s libretto for Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss
  12. storming (2005-11) for an ensemble (at least 10 instruments) and electronics (8-channel fixed media)
  13. Omaggio a Chirico (2005-11) an improvisation for 3 voices, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, electronics (live + 8-channel fixed media)

world-line (2011-14) for piccolo trumpet/quartertone flugelhorn, percussion, electric lap steel guitar and electronics comprising split and recombined versions of the following works:

  1. rift (2011-14) for piccolo trumpet, percussion, electric lap steel guitar
  2. rasa (2011-14) for flugelhorn, percussion, electric lap steel guitar
  3. lens (2012-13) for quartertone flugelhorn and electric lap steel guitar
  4. dust (2012-14) for electric lap steel guitar and electronic sounds
  5. knot (2012-14) improvisation structure for percussion and electric lap steel guitar

codex XVIII (2016) an improvisational structure for 10 or more players

codex XIX (2017) an improvisational structure for 10 or more players

entoptic phenomena (2017-18) for percussion and live electronics
for Peter Neville

membrane (2017-19) for trombone and live electronics
for Benjamin Marks

tegmen (2015-16) for solo violoncello

vinča (2019) for solo percussion

venus (2018-19) for percussion, harp and contrabass

splinter (2018-22) for contrabass solo


sorcerer (2019) for electric lap steel guitar

a new cycle for ELISION