Transformation: Music by Roger Smalley

Bringing together previously unrecorded works for percussion, piano and electronics

Transformation: Music by Roger Smalley is a full-length album, released on CD, by Tall Poppies Records in late 2017, of previously unrecorded works for percussion, piano and electronics by composer and senior honorary research fellow at the UWA Conservatorium of Music, Roger Smalley (1943-2015).

Head of Percussion and Electronic Music, Dr Christopher Tonkin, along with UWA music tutors Adam Pinto and Paul Tanner began work on the recording project in 2015 as a dedication to Roger Smalley, their teacher and mentor. The project sought to preserve the composer’s legacy, bringing otherwise unavailable music into public awareness. The album makes these works available for listening, greatly increasing the likelihood of their reintroduction into the performance repertoire of 20th and 21st century Australian art music.

This project presents premiere recordings from Mr Smalley’s composition series Music for an Imaginary Ballet and Morceau de Concours. The Transformation album contains the only recordings of this music publicly available.

Transformation is the digital implementation of the electronic processing, applied with a precision in the studio unachievable in live performance. The four parts for Ceremony I, played by Mr Tanner, were separately recorded, and then independently spatialised in the studio. This recreates the movement of the players in the performance space as directed in the composer’s sketches and score.

The recordings were complemented by performances over 2016 to 2017 across Perth and Shanghai.

About Roger Smalley

Roger Smalley was one of Australia's most respected composers. He eschewed popular styles and wrote an oeuvre of works that are both thrilling and challenging, and always of the highest musical level.

Originally from the UK, Roger Smalley moved to Perth and completed a significant academic career at UWA. Initially moving to Australia for a three-month composer residency, he went on to become a senior honorary research fellow and Emeritus Professor at the University. 

About Roger Smalley



Performers Adam Pinto, Paul Tanner and Chris Tonkin have collaborated on this recorded CD with assistance from industry professionals and music organisations.

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Contact Dr Christopher Tonkin