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Hymns in Reverie (multiple choirs with ensemble)

by Lachlan Skipworth (2017)

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The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

Materials for this work may be lodged in our collection in the future. Until then, any enquiries should be made directly to the composer/sound artist or their agent.

Work Overview

This work for three choirs and two percussionists takes its text and inspiration from Novalis, a leading literary figure of the German Romantic movement in the 18th Century. First translated into English by William Hastie in 1888, Novalis' Hymns and Thoughts on Religion captured my imagination through its exploration of dreams as a window into the spiritual and mystical world. Naturally I wanted to create a dream-like atmosphere for the work, but I wondered also if I could in fact "dream" the piece itself. What do the melodies and hymns of my sleep sound like? And how could I crystallise this fleeting yet powerful emotional state into sound?

The music drifts through four sections, across which the overriding musical technique is the overlap of chords between the three choirs. As the sound from one choir fades away another enters on a new chord, creating a brief moment of harmonic tension that slips away before it can be grasped. In the first section, clouds of ascending sevenths and ninths blend and swirl like the images in a dream. A long yearning melody emerges in the second section, sung by three soprano soloists in echo. The darker third section sees cluster chords swell and recede against otherworldly percussion. The final section moves to open-voiced chords interjected sporadically by further melodic echoes over a pointillistic backdrop of glockenspiel and vibraphone.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: 3 choirs, percussion (2 players).

Duration: 14 min.

Commission note: Commissioned for Kazuki Yamada, Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus.

First performance: by Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, Kazuki Yamada — 12 Sep 17. Dai-Ichi Seimei Hall, Tokyo

Performances of this work

12 Sep 17: Dai-Ichi Seimei Hall, Tokyo. Featuring Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, Kazuki Yamada.

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