HEXDEBT Have Made You A Chamber Music Playlist

Classical instrumentation may seem out of place at a post-punk show, but Melbourne’s HEXDEBT aren’t really ones to follow the rule book.

For one night only at Brunswick Music Festival, the four-piece will reimagine their sound with the addition of musicians from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music for a seated conceptual show.

Isobel D’cruz Barnes (bass/flute) and Aife Larkin (guitar) are both students at the Conservatorium, but the one-off collaboration is only partly a nod to their classical roots.

“Our decision to re-imagine our songs in a chamber music context was partly inspired by the classical backgrounds of Aife and myself,” says Isobel, “and in part an exploration of sound and texture in general, which is of interest to all the members.”

As a primer for the show, HEXDEBT have put together a playlist of chamber music – from the 19th-Century to now.

‘String Quartet 14 In C# Minor Mvt. 1’ (1826)


Beethoven is heralded as the first composer to bring chamber music into concert halls. Before the 19th-Century Romantic era, chamber music was written predominantly for the church or for personal entertainment in the home. Beethoven’s attention to detail and raw emotional writing quickly established the genre as a “serious artform” in the eyes of the public.

Recommended version: Lindsay String Quartet

‘Piano Trio In G Minor Mvt. 2’ (1846)

Clara Schumann

Another composer who was integral to the “elevation” of chamber music from merely an amateur genre was Clara Wieck-Schumann. Wieck-Schumann’s talent as a performer on piano combined with her compositional prowess lead her to be one of the first female composers to achieve recognition in her field, as well as one of the first women to tour internationally performing her own repertoire. ‘Piano Trio In G Minor Mvt. 2’ showcases an impressive balance of drama and elegance.

Recommended version: Beaux Arts Trio

‘Allegretto Giovale Mvt. 1′ from Lyric Suite (1926)

Alan Berg

By the 20th-Century, chamber music had taken all sorts of innovative twists and turns in its sounds and style. Most composers dabbled in the genre, with a variety of different instruments and themes involved. Berg’s Lyric Suite utilised the then-popular “serialist” approach – music composed using a series of numerical patterns arranged in a grid to influence the note length, pitch, and so on. Despite its mathematical approach, the piece still resonates with stark emotion and curiosity.

Recommended version: Alan Berg Quartet

‘The Night Mvt. 1′ from Toward the Sea (1981)

Toru Takemitsu

Leaping into the 21st-Century, we have Toru Takemitsu’s composition for flute and guitar. In the first movement, Takemitsu uses the lower-register alto flute to evoke the sounds of the night, creating a haunting and mystical landscape with the guitar accompaniment. We chose this piece for its depth and sonority, and it’s compelling use of traditional Japanese scales and harmony.

Recommended version: Hyungjin Jang and Samuel Toro Perez

‘Wildflower Mvt. 2′ from The Dreaming (1997)

Philip Houghton

Another guitar and flute chamber piece, this one from the suite by Australian composer and guitarist Philip Houghton. Haughton had a massive influence on Australian classical guitar music as well as leaving behind an enormous contribution to Australian contemporary-classical repertoire. In this suite, Houghton considered the natural Australian landscape and attempts to depict it through sound. Fun fact: Isobel and Aife once performed this movement together.

Recommended performance: Michelle Stockman and Jeremy Milligan

More Playlists

Something Else