Halcyon, the Sydney-based ensemble regarded as a leading exponent of new vocal music, presents The Poet’s Voice, an anthology of songs and cycles by contemporary Australian composers, inspired by Australian poets and writers, who explore their shared understanding of our world, our environment and our everyday life.
The works span a period of almost 50 years and capture moments of simple lives endowed with a surprising depth when words and music combine: love letters and clotheslines, birds and birth, gazing in rockpools or at mountain ranges. Alongside songs by Margaret Sutherland, Brett Dean, Elliott Gyger and Katy Abbott are the words of Judith Wright, Michael Leunig, the fictional Ern Malley and Christopher Wallace-Crabbe. Andrew Schultz is both poet and composer in his recent song cycle Paradise, setting his own words to music.
Roger Smalley’s Piano Trio (1991), commissioned for the 1st Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition is inspired not by words, but by the music of another composer. This tour-de-force piece is one of several that Smalley wrote based on Chopin’s Mazurkas.
Gordon Kerry is renowned for both his words and music. The Poet’s Voice will feature the world premiere of his new work Three Malouf Songs (2015) which celebrates Glasshouse Mountains. Kerry’s own love of the Australian bush and the beach drew him to three poems by David Malouf – Stars, Rockpools and Glasshouse Mountains. With his sensitivity to text and ear for delicate sonorities, Kerry has created a substantial through-composed chamber work for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello and piano.
Halcyon presents performances of vocal chamber music from around the world, with a special emphasis on Australian content. A protean ensemble of varying size and instrumentation, the line up is drawn together for each project by artistic director, mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong.
Artists: Jenny Duck-Chong, mezzo-soprano/ Alison Morgan, soprano/ Ewan Foster, violin/ Geoffrey Gartner, cello/ Daniel Herscovitch, piano.