Sydney’s Ensemble Offspring celebrates its 25th anniversary with Songbirds, a new album of contemporary Australian music that celebrates birds – nature’s own composers.
Released on the ABC Classic label, Ensemble Offspring’s new album, Songbirds, is a beguiling collection of chamber works for flute, clarinet and vibraphone inspired by butcherbirds, blackbirds, lorikeets and leafcutter ants, frogs and flamingos. Originally intended to accompany the ensemble’s 25th birthday concert tour, Birdsong at Dusk, the album is being released to celebrate both this major milestone and the creativity and endurance of the ensemble even in the face of a global pandemic.
Featuring the music of nine leading Australian composers, some of it written especially for the musicians of Ensemble Offspring, members Claire Edwardes (percussion), Jason Noble (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Lamorna Nightingale (flutes) capture the calls and songs of Australia’s birds and create something new: familiar, yes, but unique and engaging and exciting too.
After many seasons spent listening and recording in Central Australia, Hollis Taylor brings us the song of the pied butcher bird in Bitter Springs Creek 2014, while Kate Moore takes the liquid melodies of the European blackbird and intertwines alto flute, bass clarinet and vibraphone in an intricate counterpoint. Fiona Loader’s Lorikeet Corroboree is an upbeat, punchy work which weaves the crazy chatter of Australia’s rainbow lorikeets in with some older, ground-dwelling composers, with fragments from Papageno’s magic flute, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and the scintillating sound world of Messiaen. Meanwhile Gerard Brophy makes flamingos dance and humming birds buzz in his brand new 3 movement tour-de-force Beautiful Birds.
Sydney based Ensemble Offspring were nominated for an ARIA Award for their ABC album and podcast Classic Kids: Music For The Dreaming, and won the 2019 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award and the 2016 APRA Award for Excellence by an Organisation. The ensemble tours widely around Australia and internationally.
The tracks: 1. FIONA LOADER Lorikeet Corroboree/ 2. HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Owens Springs Reserve 2014/ 3. BRETT DEAN Notes from the Twittersphere/ 4. JANE STANLEY Desert Rose (from Four Desert Flowers)/5. FELICITY WILCOX People of this Place/
6. TRISTAN COELHO Daybreak/ GERARD BROPHY Beautiful Birds 7. I. Lyrebirds 8. II. Flamingos 9. III. Hummingbirds/10. HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Bitter Springs Creek 2014/ 11. KATE MOORE Blackbird Song
Digital Album | Available 12 June 2020 | ABC 0028948193615