“Mad Rush” – sally whitwell records the music of Philip Glass

Congratulations to Sally Whitwell on winning the 2011 ARIA Fine Award for Best Classical Album! Sally spoke to SoundsLikeSydney in May this year, just before the release of the CD. We’re re-posting her interview to celebrate her success.

On June 3rd ABC Classics releases “Mad Rush” – a CD of the piano music Philip Glass performed by Sally Whitwell.

SoundsLikeSydney spoke to Sally Whitwell in her studio, and with the hum of a busy road in the background “Mad Rush” seemed to be just the right title for her new CD. Click on the bar to hear what Whitwell has to say about her project.

Whitwell liberated herself from being anchored to a score for this music and achieved the formidable feat of memorising the music. How hard was it to memorise this repetitive music? “I found that once I had a really solid understanding of the structure of the piece, the memorisation itself was easy enough. The difficult thing about it is knowing exactly where you are in the music at any given time… I used some pictorial help to do this” she said.

“I was completely terrified at the time…. but I’m so glad I persevered with it! I feel I am now really intimate with the music, and I’m of the opinion that it’s completely necessary to be intimate with the music before you decide to record or perform it”.

Knowing that Philip Glass himself rejects the term “minimalism”, SoundsLikeSydney asked Whitwell what “minimalism” meant to her’ “I enjoy the way minimalist music requires me to listen differently. Each time that same phrase comes around again, it’s different; firstly because performers are human and cannot make any two phrases perfectly identical, and secondly because after hearing that phrase once, the listener is forever changed. Repeated experience of the same material, whether you’re creating it or appreciating it, breed a certain familiarity yes, but also an insight, that feeling when you notice something new in a phrase that is ostensibly the same”.

As well, check out the video of  Sally Whitwell on our Vides page, talking about “Mad Rush” as she plays excerpts from the CD on our Music and Videos page.


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