Sunken Dreams from the Song Company

The Song Company with Artistic Director Roland Peelman and percussionist Claire Edwardes



Percussionist Claire Edwardes joins The Song Company as guest artist for their August tour Sunken Dreams, evoking an aquatic soundscape with her use of water percussion.

Sunken Dreams features two contrasting performances that fuse the contemporary and classical influences. The Song Company’s Artistic Director Roland Peelman explains, “The two halves of the concert represent opposite views on the same phenomenon: the sea, water, as an elemental force in nature and in ourselves. The sound of water or being submerged is possibly the first and deepest sound in our subconsciousness and the sound of water reaches into the deeper levels of our humanity. It can often bring calm, peace, reassurance, but also dreams and fantasy. “

Peelman is delighted to have this exceptional artist involved in the work, “Claire and I have worked together a lot outside Song Company, but this is a chance to bring her into the group and also into the creative process of putting the ideas together for Sunken Dreams. Working together with Claire also gives us a chance of delving into different repertoire and exploring some musical corners we could not otherwise have done. We continuously seek to broaden our horizons and work with fantastic people who can bring something to us.  Claire brings extraordinary energy but also a charm and sensitivity we do not always recognise in the world of percussion.”

“There will be quite a few ‘swoon’ moments, some funny exchanges and a seamless flow of beautiful delicate music, percussion at its sexiest! I also hope that the concert has something meaningful to say about a great composer like Debussy and the way his melodies and harmonies can transcend the piano on which they were originally written.”

The programme opens with contemporary arrangements by New Zealand’s Jack Body (b 1944) and Peter Sculthorpe. His Lullabies, Dreams and a Nightmare conjures up images of the winds of the Pacific and was specially conceived for the Song Company.

Peter Sculthorpe’s Maranoa Lullaby is based on an Aboriginal melody collected by ethnomusicologist and Dr. Harold .O. Lethbridge, with accompanying arrangements by Arthur S. Loam.  Dr Lethbridge was a physician and surgeon who worked with Aboriginal people for over 30 years in the early 20th century.

In the second part of the programme, the mood shifts to French impressionism with the music of Claude Debussy including Claire de Lune, Golliwog’s Cakewalk, La Cathédrale engloutie.

Continuing the Song Company’s practice of inventive mixes of sound, Claire Edwardes repository of instruments will include the rare waterphone and submerged gongs.

Invented and developed by American musician and inventor, Richard Waters, the waterphone is made from a stainless steel bowl from which rises a cylindrical neck. Bronze rods of different lengths and diameters are placed around the rim of the bowl. A small quantity of water is sometimes added into the bowl, creating a pulsing ethereal sound reminiscent of the Humpback Whale. Each instrument is unique and can vary in size and design.


Sculthorpe P: Maranoa Lullaby

Body J: Lullabies, Dreams and a Nightmare

Debussy C: Selection of Preludes and Songs including Claire de Lune, Golliwog’s Cakewalk, La Cathédrale engloutie.

Satie E: Gymnopédie No.1

Artistic Director Roland Peelman,

Anna Fraser (soprano), Clive Birch (bass), Mark Donnelly (baritone)

Richard Black (tenor), Susannah Lawergren (soprano), Lanneke Jones (mezzo-soprano)

 For tickets or more information: phone (02) 8272 9500 or visit








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