On 30 and 31 July, Carl Vine’s trombone concerto Five Hallucinations features at the Grand Teton Music Festival, Wyoming, where Gemma New will lead the Festival Orchestra in two sold-out performances with Michael Mulcahy as soloist. Mulcahy gave the premiere of this 20-minute work, which takes its name from a neurology book by Oliver Sacks, in 2016 with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has since performed it in both the USA and Australia.
‘Five Hallucinations is an impressive, surely crafted work, deftly deploying atmospheric and virtuosic writing for solo trombone against a large orchestra. There are many imaginative touches by the Australian composer: in “The doppelganger” Mulcahy’s unsettled solo line is shadowed by his trombone colleagues in the orchestra, reflecting the hallucination of being followed. “The lemonade speaks” is suitably whimsical with buoyant passages for the soloist and nice scoring touches, as with the waterfall-like piccolo and harp. A darker world emerges in “Mama wants some cookies” as the sharply rhythmic music turns frantic and aggressive. The concerto closes on an optimistic note (“Hexagons in pink”) with Vine’s energetic, brightly colored scoring reflecting the soothing pleasure of repetitive visual patterns, even with passing moments of existential fear.’
Chicago Classical Review (Lawrence A. Johnson), 7 October 2016
‘Densely swirling textures and swiftly changing contrasts in sound, rhythm and mood established an unsettling, restless energy and eerie, mysterious atmosphere.
Mulcahy’s focused, crystalline solo line alternated between penetrating resplendence and subdued subtlety, yet always powerfully navigated its way through Vine’s intricate soundscapes.’
The Australian (Murray Black), 7 April 2017