Halcyon’s Birthday Celebrations Continue With Women’s Work



The celebrations continue as Halcyon celebrates its 15th birthday! Halcyon presents a program of English and Australian works by women, revisiting the captivating music of Rosalind Page, Elisabeth Lutyens and Kerry Andrew, exploring the work of Helen Gifford for the first time and premiering a new chamber cycle by Moya Henderson.

Elisabeth Lutyens’ setting of Japanese texts, The Valley of Hatsu-se, is a remarkably beautiful response to the death of her beloved husband three years prior, a search for meaning after terrible loss. Known as an uncompromising radical, Lutyens went on to be one of the first British composers to adopt serialism. This early work, although lyrical and tonal, reveals a taste of things to come.

Helen Gifford’s Spell Against Sorrow, on three poems by Kathleen Raine, also explores grief, the poet asking, “who will take away sorrow?” Now in her seventies, Australian Helen Gifford created ripples in the world of new music with her unique theatre piece Exile, the first iPad opera, presented by Chamber Made Opera in 2010.

Described as “playful, punning and admirably concise” in a review by Peter McCallum, Kerry Andrew’s fruit songs are deliciously funny and insightful, each song a small burst of diverse flavour for voice and guitar. Herself an established singer, Kerry Andrew takes her inspiration from a range of non-classical traditions.

Last performed by Halcyon in 2005, Rosalind Page’s haunting and delicate Hrafnsöngvar (Ravensongs) makes a welcome return to the stage. Recorded by Halcyon and featured on the CD Cool Black, this audience favorite is a spellbinding setting of Icelandic poetry by Hraaf Andrés Har∂arson. The program finishes with the world premiere of Moya Henderson’s Lovely How Lives, on the poetry of Judith Hemschemeyer for two voices and ensemble. 

The programme:
Kerry Andrew fruit songs (2001)
Elisabeth Lutyens The Valley of Hatsu-Se  (1965)
Moya Henderson Lovely How Lives (2013) WORLD PREMIERE
Helen Gifford Spell Against Sorrow (2003)
Rosalind Page Hrafnsöngvar (2005)

Artists: Alison Morgan, soprano/  Jenny Duck-Chong, mezzo soprano/  Elizabeth Scott, conductor/ Laura Chislett Jones, flutes/  David Rowden , clarinet/ Alexandre Oguey, cor anglais/ Geoffrey Gartner, cello/ Ken Murray, guitar/  Josephine Allan, piano/ Colin Taylor celeste/ Genevieve Lang, harp.


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