The enterprising Australian composer Betty Beath has created a YouTube channel where you can access free recordings of her music. There are now almost twenty recordings of her work available with original graphic illustrations by her partner, the illustrator David Cox.
The latest addition is a solo piano piece called A Little Love Music, taken from the album The Music of Betty Beath on the Wirrapang label. There are three songs, the first “A Loving Embrace” opens with a jazz-inflected spread chord. The harmony continues to wander unsettled with glimpses of Betty’s familiar gamelan sounds imbedded in what is a wistful, unhurried song. “Let’s Dance” is more chromatic and didactic while “Dance… very slowly” returns to the meandering feel of the opening. Despite the sentimental title there is nothing saccharine about these carefully crafted little snapshots, with harmonic twists and turns that are equally surprising and delightful.
David Cox’s idiomatic sketches (he has done some fabulous children’s books) are emboldened by strong colours and the video includes photographs of the two artists.
I wanted to share this gift as it is another lovely opportunity to access the music of this much-recorded and highly regarded composer, who is well into her eighties and continues to compose and work with community ensembles in Brisbane where she lives.