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The Pleiades at midnight : for two singers and three players

by Elliott Gyger (2013)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Halcyon, Laura Chislett, Geoffrey Gartner, Joshua Hill from the CD Kingfisher

Work Overview

Written for Halcyon's Kingfisher Songs project. Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades, is an eclipsing binary star orbited by three smaller stars - a delightful metaphor for an ensemble directed by two singers, orbited by changing configurations of instrumentalists.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Soprano, mezzo-soprano, piccolo/bass flute, vibraphone/crotales, cello.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Halcyon. "To Halcyon, for your 15th birthday"

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

Words by Johannes Carsten Hauch (1861) (translated by Elliott Gyger).

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.


Resonate article: Halcyon: the binary star by Elliott Gyger

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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