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Sacred kingfisher psalms

Sheet Music: Score

Sacred kingfisher psalms : for mixed choir / Ross Edwards.

by Ross Edwards (2009)

  • Sales Availability: This item may be available to purchase from the Australian Music Centre.
    Please contact our Sales Department to confirm pricing and availability.
  • Library Availability: 782.555294/EDW 1 — Reference (not for loan) copy only
  • Instrumentation: SSATBarB choir (or solo voices).
  • Audio Sample

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


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

Product details

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.

Published by: Theatre of Voices Edition [TOV020C] — 1 score (46p. -- A4 (portrait))

Duration: 12 mins, 30 sec.

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

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

Includes programme notes and song text, with English translation.

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

A bridge of dreams
CD: A bridge of dreams / Ars Nova Copenhagen ; Paul Hillier with Andrew Lawrence King.


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Analysis & Media

- Resonate Article: 2012 Art Music Awards - comments by judging panels

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