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Carmina Gadelica (quartets: 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos)

by Ruth Lee Martin (1999)

Audio Sample

Performance by Halcyon from the CD Sirens



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Sirens : live at the Sydney Conservatorium / Halcyon.

Library shelf no. CD 1591 [Available for loan]

Carmina Gadelica


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Carmina Gadelica : 5 hymns & incantations, a song cycle for 4 female voices / Ruth Lee Martin.

Library shelf no. 783.1465547/MAR 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This work was inspired by the book Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the Last Century by Alexander Carmichael. I have had a long interest in the music and culture of the Scottish Highlands being a Gaelic singer myself. This book intrigued me as it is a collection of fragments from an earlier time that clearly shows the somewhat uneasy combination of an earlier pagan religion and Christianity. The strangeness of this is highlighted in one of the pieces called 'The Vixen' in which the speaker is calling down dreadful curses on the woman in the next village, all in the name of God. This work was a seminal work for me, being my first major commission thanks to Graham Hair and his Sydney vocal group Voiceworks.

Work Details

Year: 1999

Instrumentation: 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.

Contents note: Faerie lover -- Lament -- Hail to the sun -- The vixen -- Good wish.

Commission note: Commissioned by Voiceworks.

First performance: by Voiceworks — 26 Jul 99. Llewellyn Hall, Canberra School of Music


Performances of this work

17 Jul 04: Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Featuring Halcyon.

26 Jul 99: Llewellyn Hall, Canberra School of Music. Featuring Voiceworks.

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