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Sydney dreaming : for unaccompanied choir

by Stephen Adams (1988)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Elliott Gyger, Contemporary Singers, Antony Walker from the CD Sydney dreaming

Sydney dreaming

Out of Print

This item is out-of-print. We regret that it cannot be purchased from the Australian Music Centre.


Sydney dreaming / The Contemporary Singers, Antony Walker.

Library shelf no. CD 367 [Available for loan]

Sydney dreaming


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Sydney dreaming : for unaccompanied choir / music and text by Stephen Adams.

Library shelf no. 782.5554/ADA 4 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Sydney Dreaming was written in response to the sound environment of Redfern and the tensions between the "two-thirds world" of life on The Block and the "first world" of commuters and the nearby university. The piece brought together my attempts at performance poetry (I had performed the text in a variety of other contexts before writing the choral piece), my work with ambient-industrial-folk-rock band One Over Zero, my choral experience, especially with the Contemporary Singers, and textural and timbral ideas from my work with electronic music and harmonic singing.

Work Details

Year: 1988

Instrumentation: SATB choir, tenor soloist. In three sections: SATB, SSATBB, & SSATBB + tenor solo

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: The work forms a day cycle in the form of a triptych: 1. waking from half sleep into action - from choral unison, through 2 and 4-part textures moving from the melodic to shifting rhythmic pulses) -- 2. the bustle of city life, contrasted with reflections on its outsiders (6-part counterpoint of buzzing ostinati, interrupted by a slow chant melody) -- 3. day's end and the slow decay of the city's brilliance (tenor solo against shimmering background of vowels, decaying into whispers).

Dedication note: Dedicated to Jen Craig. Dedicated to Jen Craig, without whom..., and the Committee to Defend Black Rights, working for the two-thirds world in our backyard.

Written for: Native Rose Music Theatre Company

Commission note: Commissioned by Contemporary Singers.

First performance: by Contemporary Singers — Oct 98.

Originally performed with 2 dancers and a series of triptych slide projections (held by composer).

Opening movement and finale have been composed earlier as independent choral works (Sydney Dreaming, 1988, and Belong, 1991) and included in this version.

Performances of this work

15 Sep 2012: at Evenings at Elderhall (Elder Hall).

16 Sep 2011: at Brighton to Bondi (Sydney Town Hall). Featuring Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

16 Sep 2011: at Brighton to Bondi (Sydney Town Hall). Featuring Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Brett Weymark.

Oct 98: featuring Contemporary Singers.

13 Oct 88: Garrison Church, The Rocks, Sydney. Featuring Contemporary Singers, Elliott Gyger, Antony Walker.

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