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A birthday (vocal quintets)

by Vaughan McAlley (2010)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Angeli Vocal Ensemble from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 46.

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Music from 4 to 40 Parts


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Music from 4 to 40 Parts / Vaughan McAlley.

Library shelf no. CD 3071 [Not for loan]



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A birthday / Vaughan McAlley ; words by Christina Rossetti

Library shelf no. 783.15542/MCA 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

A Birthday was composed for the wedding of my friends Kate McBride and Tom Reid. The poetry by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894) joyfully depicts the potential of new (and of not-so-new) love:

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

The poetry is very sensuous, and I have tried to depict this in the music.

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: SATTB choir, or five vocal soloists.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Requires good tuning

Dedication note: Written for the wedding of Kate McBride and Tom Reid, 24 April 2010.

First performance: by Katy Norman, Leonie Tonkin, Vaughan McAlley, Peter Campbell, Thomas Drent — 24 Apr 10. Butleigh Wootton, Kew

The composer has noted the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Just intonation, madrigal, renaissance.


Performances of this work

26 Jun 11: Trinity College Chapel, Parkville, Vic. Featuring Angeli Vocal Ensemble.

24 Apr 10: Butleigh Wootton, Kew. Featuring Katy Norman, Leonie Tonkin, Vaughan McAlley, Peter Campbell, Thomas Drent.

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