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Sometimes snow fell, sometimes darkness... : for soprano and mezzo voices, with alto flute

by Stephen Adams (2013)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Halcyon, Laura Chislett from the CD Kingfisher



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Kingfisher : songs for Halcyon.

Library shelf no. CD 2724 [Available for loan]

Sometimes snow fell, sometimes darkness...


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Work Overview

Sometimes snow fell, sometimes darkness... evokes the atmosphere of its short Turkish text (sung in Turkish and given in translation as the title) in mostly quiet music of timbral shifts and blurred heterophonic 'counterpoint' for two women's voices and alto flute. The soundworlds includes slow phoneme shifts, long phrases winding independently around each other and a range of flute extended techniques. The pitch content juxtaposes melismatic lines with drones.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto flute.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — flute extended techniques and high level of vocal control of dynamics, articulation and extended phrases

Commission note: Commissioned by Halcyon.. Commissioned for the Kingfisher 15th birthday project.

First performance: by Halcyon at Kingfisher - songs for Halcyon (Sculpture Terrace, Museum of Contemporary Art) on 23 Oct 2013

The composer notes: The work brings together the sounds of the Turkish language and melodic influences with timbral/spatial contrapuntal effects suggesting electronic manipulation

This song is one of a collection of chamber works under the title Kingfisher, Songs for Halcyon. The songs were gifts from the composers to celebrate 15 years of music-making by Australia’s leading ensemble for vocal chamber music.

A fabled bird identified with the kingfisher, the halcyon had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the winter solstice. The composers took their inspiration from the word 'halcyon', each displaying their own unique voice in writing for singers and instruments. The 21 songs represent the cream of vocal composition in Australia and offer a lasting tribute to the relationships formed between Halcyon and the composers who have written for them over the years.

Performances of this work

15 Mar 2014: at Kingfisher - Songs for Halcyon (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Halcyon.

23 Oct 2013: at Kingfisher - songs for Halcyon (Sculpture Terrace, Museum of Contemporary Art). Featuring Halcyon.

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