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Classical: Vocal Music Classical: Contemporary Moods: Type: Vocal
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Waves II

by Halcyon

Often adventurous and always sophisticated, acclaimed Australian ensemble Halcyon presents fascinating programs of new vocal chamber music from the 20th century and beyond. Waves 2 features Maninya I by Ross Edwards and King Ludwig's Swans by Dan Walker.
Genre: Classical: Vocal Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Maninya I
10:54 $2.69
2. King Ludwig's Swans: I
4:39 $0.99
3. King Ludwig's Swans: II
3:04 $0.99
4. King Ludwig's Swans: III
4:02 $0.99
5. King Ludwig's Swans: IV
3:50 $0.99
6. King Ludwig's Swans: V
3:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Waves 2 is Halcyon's second release of studio recordings and features two Australian works - Ross Edwards Maninya I (1981/1986) for mezzo soprano and cello and Dan Walker's King Ludwig's Swans (2004/2009) for four female voices and harp.

Maninya I: Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano, Geoffrey Garter cello
King Ludwig's Swans: Alison Morgan soprano Belinda Montgomery soprano Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano Jo Burton mezzo soprano Genevieve Lang harp

Recorded at Trackdown Scoring Stage, Sydney in 2011-2012 by Daniel Brown


In 1986 I completed a series of five instrumental and vocal pieces under the generic title Maninya. Two of the pieces (I and V), were later used in my violin concerto Maninyas. The title was extracted from the text of the first piece, Maninya I, for voice and cello, in which randomly chosen phonetic units are grouped together to form rhythmic cells. As I proceeded with the series the word maninya, meaningless at first, began to connote, for me, at least, certain characteristics of the music I was writing: its chant-like quality, resulting from the narrow range of limitations; its static harmonic basis; the general liveliness of its tempi; and so on.
The evolution of this ‘maninya style’ may have been influenced by my subconscious absorption of a variety of non-western musics. African mbira music, for example, may be responsible to some extent for the characteristic terseness and angularity of the melodic shapes, while the manner in which these are woven together sometimes recalls the textures of Indonesian gamelan music. Some listeners have detected Japanese, Indian and Indonesian scales; others have considered the repetitive processes to be similar to those used to heighten awareness in much of the world’s functional religious music e.g., Australian Aboriginal chant, Sufi music etc.
Far more important an influence than any music, however, was the natural environment, a timeless continuum from which much of the structural material was distilled.... although in recent works its presence is felt at a more abstract level, it remains the supreme generative force behind everything I write.
© Ross Edwards

One of Australia’s best known composers, Ross Edwards has created a distinctive sound world which seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore such qualities as ritual, spontaneity and the impulse to dance. Intensely aware of his vocation as a composer, he has largely followed his own path, allowing the music to speak for itself. Among many awards, which include the Order of Australia, two Keating Fellowships in the 1990s were crucial to his development.
Edwards considers it his responsibility to make the most effective use of one of the planet’s most powerful forces to communicate vividly and widely at the highest possible artistic level. His music, which is concerned with the age-old mysteries confronting humanity, is at the same time deeply connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws many of its shapes and patterns, notably birdsong and the mysterious drones of summer insects. Edwards’ belief in the healing power of music is reflected in a body of contemplative works inspired by sounds of the Australian landscape. He has contributed to a recording project with the Hush Music Foundation and the Tasmanian Symphony.
Ross Edwards’ compositions, which are performed world-wide include five symphonies, concertos, chamber and vocal music, children’s music, film scores, opera and music for dance.

Specifically written for Halcyon, this multi-movement work reflects on the life of the young King Ludwig of nineteenth century Germany. He is known by many nicknames: the Swan King, the Mad King of Bavaria, the Dream King, and Mad Ludwig. Was “Mad King Ludwig” mad? Ludwig II has become one of the most legendary figures in Bavarian and German history, an enigmatic character whose short life seemed constantly peppered by mysterious occurrences and rumour. Today, Ludwig's extravagances such as his fairy-tale (and anachronistic) Neuschwanstein castle and his latent homosexuality have contributed to the Mad Ludwig legend.

It is perhaps the lifestyle of Ludwig that drew the attention of the late Australian poet Michael Dransfield, whose own short and turbulent life was not without controversy. The majority of his prolific writing was penned during the poet’s addiction with heroin, and his musings would often wander into the surreal and the fantastic.
The title of this work, King Ludwig’s Swans refers to the Bavarian King’s image of the animal as a symbol of purity and innocence, and I have in some way reflected this in the music. Rich harmonies between voices and luscious harp figures are balanced with plaintive text setting and bell-like textures, meandering melismatic passages with lines of utmost simplicity.
© Dan Walker

Composer, conductor and performer Dan Walker lives in Sydney and is one of Australia’s most sought-after choral specialists. His work includes commissions for Gondwana Voices, The Birralee Blokes, the Nittany Valley Children’s Choir of Pennsylvania, Halcyon and the Sydney Children’s Choir. He has been composer-in-residence for the Moorambilla festival for the past six years and is often engaged to compose for school ensembles both in Australia and abroad. Dan is also an active arranger and regularly produces work for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and record label ABC Classics, as well as writing commercial work for television.
As a performer, Dan is a member of Sydney-based Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera and early music ensemble ‘The Parson’s Affayre’. He conducts multiple school vocal groups and is Associate Artistic Director of Gondwana Choirs. A busy workshop leader and educator, Dan is currently part of the Musica Viva composer-in-the-classroom series and WotOpera’s ‘Opera in Schools’ project.

Regarded as a leading exponent in the field of new music, Halcyon presents stunning performances of vocal chamber music from around the world, with a special emphasis on Australian content. Artistic directors and singers Jenny Duck-Chong and Alison Morgan direct the popular and acclaimed Halcyon concert series, showcasing many rarely heard international works and premiering new offerings from some of Australia's most esteemed composers, including Nigel Butterley, Andrew Ford, Elliott Gyger, Andrew Schultz, Raffaele Marcellino, Rosalind Page and Nicholas Vines. With the help of generous sponsors, Halcyon is currently recording many of these works for commercial release.

In recent years the ensemble has performed at the Aurora Festival in Western Sydney, the Four Winds Festival, the House Music series (Government House Sydney), the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and in the highly successful collaborative presentation of Tehillim at City Recital Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre as well as presenting concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Armidale. Halcyon has performed at the annual Peggy Glanville Hicks Address, at the AMC/APRA Classical Music Awards and at the Paul Lowin Awards, where its commission Sonetos del amor oscuro by Rosalind Page won the prestigious Song Cycle prize. In its mentorship role, Halcyon has presented concerts and workshops focusing on vocal writing and contemporary Australian repertoire to secondary and tertiary composition students at Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney, The Australian National University, St Andrew’s Cathedral School and Radford College; in 2010 Halcyon was guest ensemble with Kammerklang, a young composer’s project directed by Cameron Lam.

In 2011 Halcyon launched its inaugural emerging composer’s project, First Stones, which culminated in a showcase of the new works at Sydney Conservatorium. In the same year Halcyon was a finalist in the APRA/AMC Art Music Awards in the Performance of the Year category for its acclaimed performance of Elliott Gyger’s From the Hungry Waiting Country. In 2012, Halcyon presented another diverse series of concerts at Sydney Grammar School and joined Synergy for a performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Opera House in the presence of the composer. 2013 is Halcyon’s 15th birthday and amongst the celebrations the ensemble will launch Kingfisher, a project to mark this special occasion, with commissions by 22 Australian composers.

Other Halcyon studio recordings can be found on the following albums: Cool Black: The Chamber Music of Rosalind Page (all Halcyon), Sunburnt Aftertones by Katy Abbott (featuring No Ordinary Traveller by Halcyon) and A Vision of Wildflowers: The Music of Ruth Lee Martin (featuring Wimmera Song Cycle by Halcyon) and Waves I.



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