Raymond Hanson (1913-1976) is one of Australia’s most neglected composers. His music is rarely heard on the concert platform, and even more rarely on CD. Part of the problem is access to the scores. Most of the works recorded here exist only in manuscript in the Sydney Conservatorium library. Susan Collins has written an illuminating doctoral thesis about Hanson’s violin music, and as part of this she has painstakingly edited violin parts for performance. The only previous recordings were made by the ABC, and the original 78s have been destroyed. This CD will go a small way towards rectifying that situation, and hopefully will encourage others to take up the mantle.
In his role as teacher Hanson influenced many Australian composers and musicians. He was interested in jazz, and aboriginal music, and had a good knowledge of current compositional trends world-wide. His teaching stressed accessibility of music - he wasn’t interested in occupying the lonely ivory tower of “difficult” music - he was trying to find and express universal truths. Most listeners to this CD will find the music appealing and thought-provoking. As Hanson said: “If you want to be incomprehensible, go and get it. I don’t.” and “… what Beethoven had is the common touch… this wonderful contact between the creator and the listener… This is what I have endeavored to do through my life.”
Susan Collins and David Miller give superb performances of Hanson’s music. Susan teaches violin at the Newcastle University and David teaches accompaniment at the Sydney Conservatorium.