The Splendour of Lying Naked in the Sun is a new release on the Kammerklang label featuring a song cycle of the same name, composed by Cameron Lam, playfully pondering nudity, self love and our place in the universe. The song cycle is based on the writing of American author Salvatore Scibona and written for a cappella sextet the Divisi Chamber Singers.
The four songs in the song cycle, have evocative titles – The Sun Came Out, The Desire, Blood Red, Leaves Green, and Hiding Nothing. It pays homage to queer spaces, being nude, and self-love of your own unexceptional body. The work was featured in Divisi’s Queer Love Songs program and several repeat performances were programmed by Homophonic! as part of 2023’s Midsumma Festival, Australia’s premier LGBTQIA+ cultural festival.
The text, by award-winning American novelist, Salvatore Scibona, first appeared in the New York Times, in an article musing from slow summer college days, to photosynthesis, to how it feels so peaceful to bask in the violence of a nuclear reactor. The four movements capture this breadth of emotion playfully across chants, chorales, and even minimalist chemistry.
Sonically, The Splendour of Lying Naked in the Sun is inspired by the work of American composer Ben Johnson who used just intonation as a launching pad into spectralism and microtonal writing. This extended palette of harmonics and tunings, gives rise to new melodies and harmonies while remaining singable. Refined over multiple rehearsals and opportunities to collaborate, the song cycle shows off the masterful technical and expressive ability of Divisi in achieving a style that Lam calls “alien, yet beautiful”.
Through his production company and record label Kammerklang and other freelance projects, Melbourne-based Cameron Lam creates music that connects people through multiple artforms. They are also a passionate curator and champion of the Australian art music community, running the Australian Art Music playlist on Spotify and in their role as Art Music Lead at the APRA AMCOS. Lam excels at vocal and chamber music where each performer has agency and a chance to contribute to collective art making. This has most recently led to The Splendour of Lying Naked in the Sun being shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Paul Lowin Prize.
On the recording, Divisi Chamber Singers comprises soprano Marjorie Butcher, mezzo-soprano Renee Herron, counter-tenor Alex Ritter, tenor Anish Niar, baritone Alex Gorbatov, and bass Bailey Montgomerie.
The project was recorded by David Collins, mixed and mastered by Jayson McBride with Lam himself as Executive Producer. Cover Art is by Cameron Lam and Graphic Design by Luke MoseleyRead our review of The Art of Disappearing, on the Kammerklang label, which features the music of Cameron Lam.