Halcyon presents In Nature a concert featuring four world premieres by Larry Sitsky, Elena Kats Chernin, Melissa Hui and Madeleine Isaksson, the Australian premiere of Andrew Ford’s new song cycle, Nature and Matthew Hindson’s engaging Insect Songs, (also featured on our latest EP release Waves IV). The works, drawn from three continents and relationships old and new, feature texts and poetry from Australia, the UK, Finland, Sweden, France, Japan and China.
For this concert, mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong will be joined by flautist Sally Walker, cellist Geoffrey Gartner, guitarist Vladimir Gorbach, percussionist Tim Brigden with tabla player Maharshi Raval and soprano Jane Sheldon.
Andrew Ford’s new song cycle Nature, is a delicately wrought and thoughtful exploration of the natural world. Ford has drawn together eight diverse texts to create a through-composed work of great sensitivity. The unusual palette of instruments – flute, cello, guitar, tabla, percussion and voice – creates subtle shades of colour that draw you deeply into his imaginings. Co-commissioned for Halcyon and soloists and ensembles in Stockholm, Oslo and Dublin, it premiered in Sweden earlier this month. Together with renowned tabla player Maharshi Raval, Halcyon will present the Australian premiere before further European performances in October and November.
Commissioned by flautist Sally Walker and dedicated to Dr Philip Spradbery, the renowned entomologist, CSIRO scientist and passionate environmental advocate, Elena Kats-Chernin’s Moondust is a wordless reverie for voice, flute, cello and vibraphone; drones and gently mesmerising melodies interweaving over shimmering percussive chords.
Soprano Jane Sheldon joins Halcyon for the premiere of Swedish-born French-resident Madeleine Isaksson’s Blad över blad. Written to a bilingual poem of the composer’s own devising, this is another piece of subtle colouration which blurs the line between voice and instrument, the two languages and three instruments branching across each other continually so, in the composer’s words, their timbres ‘melt together’.
Canadian composer Melissa Hui’s works featured in Halcyon’s very first concert series in 2001. For the concert, she has transformed two of her aptly named songs – Snowflakes and Nature – for Halcyon, adapting them as chamber works for voice, flute, cello, guitar and vibraphone and giving both composer and performer the opportunity to reconnect with them and each other after so many years.
Larry Sitsky, whose extraordinary song cycle, A Feast of Lanterns II features on Halcyon’s latest release, Waves IV and who celebrated his 85th birthday this month, is featured in a brief and soulful duo, The Bamboo Flute, composed recently for Jenny and flautist Sally Walker.
There are more outstanding works by Matthew Hindson, Hilary Tann, Nigel Butterley and Cathy Milliken also on the program.
Halcyon has been performing stellar programs for 21 years, full of rare and eclectic works from Australia and around the globe. They have commissioned, premiered and presented more than 250 works from over 15 countries, developed long relationships with composers and institutions both here and abroad and featured ever-changing combinations of more than a hundred seasoned and emerging chamber music performers in intimate settings. While every concert is a fresh experience, the consistent craftsmanship and careful curation of each event remains a hallmark.
Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo-soprano, artistic director/ Jane Sheldon soprano/ Sally Walker flutes/ Geoffrey Gartner cello/ Vladimir Gorbach guitar/ Tim Brigden percussion/ Maharshi Raval tabla
Tickets: $40/25 through Classikon