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Work

Sacred kingfisher psalms : for mixed choir

by Ross Edwards (2009)

Audio Sample

Performance by Ars Nova Copenhagen, Paul Hillier from the CD A bridge of dreams

A bridge of dreams

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Sacred kingfisher psalms

$POA

This item may be available to purchase from the Australian Music Centre.
Please contact our Sales Department to confirm pricing and availability.

Score

Sacred kingfisher psalms : for mixed choir / Ross Edwards.

Library shelf no. 782.555294/EDW 1 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

I began to compose Sacred Kingfisher Psalms immediately after completing another a capella choral work, Missa Alchera (Mass of the Dreaming) for the Brisbane Chamber Choir. I compiled texts excerpted from the Latin Vulgate versions of Psalms 1 and 130 as well as the names of birds in the language of the Aboriginal people who inhabited the district that is now Sydney long before Europeans arrived in Australia. These ancient texts have in common a strong sense of the spirit and significance of place and an awareness and acceptance of implicit natural laws recognized throughout the ages as being essential for balance and harmony, renewal - and, ultimately, survival. I have treated them musically as both chants and praises with a strong connection to the earth.

The work springs abruptly from the interiority of Psalm 130 into a vigorous 'bird chant'. In this ritual chanting of bird names, prominent among them dyaramak, the sacred kingfisher, a close relation of the kookaburra, there are many resonances of earlier material as well as a return to the Phrygian mode and its pentatonic derivatives which underpin the psalm settings. No attempt has been made to mimic either Aboriginal music or birdsong: the rhythmic patterns and drones are directly influenced by my subconscious absorption of the sounds of the south eastern coastal environment of Australia where I have spent most of my life. The spontaneous appearance of some universal characteristics of children's song seemed in keeping with the theme of renewal.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: SSATBarB choir (or solo voices).

Duration: 13 min.

Commission note: Commissioned by Ars Nova Copenhagen, Song Company, Edinburgh International Festival Society, Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge.

First performance: by Song Company, Roland Peelman at The Wellspring (Fitter's Workshop) on 22 May 2010

Analysis

Resonate article: 2012 Art Music Awards - comments by judging panels by Australian Music Centre

Subjects

Performances of this work

4 Dec 2013: at Of Birds & Angels: The Song Company (The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Song Company.

1 Dec 2013: at Of Birds & Angels: The Song Company (Centre for Christianity, Barton). Featuring Song Company.

30 Nov 2013: at Of Birds & Angels: The Song Company (Newcastle Conservatorium Concert Hall). Featuring Song Company.

27 Nov 2013: at Of Birds & Angels: The Song Company (City Recital Hall Angel Place). Featuring Song Company.

25 Nov 2013: at Of Birds & Angels: The Song Company (Wollongong Town Hall). Featuring Song Company.

22 May 2010: at The Wellspring (Fitter's Workshop). Featuring Song Company, Roland Peelman.

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