This Kind of Life

Date: 21 July 2018
Time: 8pm
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

As Halcyon celebrates 20 years of exceptional music-making, come and join us for a midwinter evening of intriguing and eclectic new chamber music. 

The program features Australian premieres by mid-career composers Japanese-born Dai Fujikura and Belgian Annelies Van Parys alongside a couple of songs from our Kingfisher project and a brand new work by Elliott Gyger, celebrating his 50th birthday this year. 

Halcyon’s long and fruitful relationship with composer Elliott Gyger, spanning more than three decades, has produced a series of outstanding vocal works.  Beginning with From the hungry waiting country in 2006 (commissioned for Halcyon by the first Aurora Festival) through giving voice (winner of the 2013 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award) to Un poilu australien in 2015 (for our War Letters project), these pieces have been some of the most challenging and rewarding works in Halcyon's repertoire. Each one is a tour-de-force for both performers and composer, as Elliott descirbes here:

From the hungry waiting country (2006) weaves together fifteen texts – seven in English, eight in ancient languages – each sung by a different soloist or subset from its female vocal quartet; at times two or three texts are superimposed, working in independent tempi.  Petit Testament (2008), by contrast, comes as close as possible to multitracking a single voice in live performance; Jenny and Alison are called upon to play vocal hide-and-seek with one another, merging into a single line featuring unison, heterophony and interior dialogue."

This year as the ensemble and composer both celebrate significant milestones, it seemed the perfect time to join forces again.  

"This kind of life (2018) is written once again for Alison and Jenny’s voices, but rather than blending and blurring they are kept quite distinct, as they sing the words of two people in dialogue with one another.  Each is supported by her own miniature ensemble of two instruments (clarinet and piano with the soprano; cello and harp with the mezzo), although as the work progresses these ensembles begin to overlap and fuse. 
A musical celebration of friendship, This kind of life seems an apt choice for a program highlighting the rich network of collaborations that has developed across Halcyon’s 20-year history – a network which I am grateful and proud to be part of.

Elliott Gyger This Kind of Life  WORLD PREMIERE
Dai Fujikura  Being as One  AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Annaliese Van Parys  Three Mew Poems  AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Ross Edwards The Tranquil Mind
Rosalind Page Aquila’s Wing

Alison Morgan soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo-soprano,  Laura Chislett flute, David Rowden clarinet, Georgina Oakes bass clarinet, Geoffrey Gartner cello, Jo Allan piano, Rowan Phemister harp

Tickets $35/$25 through Classikon

Image: Linden Gledhill