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The Song Company has announced its programme for 2018, featuring world premieres by established and emerging Australian composers, an intimate arrangement of Fauré’s Requiem, and a cross-art collaboration with Indigenous choreographer Thomas E. S. Kelly.
The season begins in the 16th century, with a concert of selections from the Dow Partbooks, containing works by William Byrd, Robert Parsons, Robert White and others. The second programme harks back earlier still to medieval France, with a series of ballads and lays by poet-composer Guillaume de Machaut, who tells his ‘true love story’ in song.
The ensemble has also commissioned two new works to mark the centenary of the 1918 peace which brought the first world war to an end. It will be a programme framed by newly commissioned music by three Australian composers: Ruth McCall, Ella Macens, and Ross Edwards. Later in the year, Edwards also provides the pretext for a special celebration concert, a December one-off which will commemorate his 75th birthday with a chamber version of Fauré’s ageless Requiem.
A pair of dancers from The Thomas E. S. Kelly Project will work with The Song Company through September, offering audiences a glimpse of the Australian seasons from an Indigenous perspective. Dancer, choreographer and self-described ‘proud Bundjalung and Wiradjuri man,’ Kelly’s work typically seeks to express Aboriginal Australia and discuss how it fits into the audience’s world. In this collaboration, words, music and movement will combine in a ‘sympathetic synthesis’ of arts.
On the musical side, arrangements of the Vivaldi Four Seasons establish the seasonal theme, which is further explored through such works as Poulenc’s A Night of Snow. Also on the programme is Alice Chance’s Pallah-Pallah, created in 2014 for the Moorambilla Voices in conjunction with Jacob Williams of Queensland Ballet. Pallah-Pallah retells the Indigenous story of how the opal was formed from a butterfly frozen in the alpine snows, and then melted into pools of colour with the arrival of spring.
Two ‘pop-up’ programmes are also on the menu, with dates and times to be revealed later on. For one of these, The Song Company will join forces with ‘sound designers’ Hylton Mowbray and We Love JAM Studios in a programme which bridges past and present. In a shift of focus, the second ‘pop-up’ revels in the rich a cappella worlds of the 1700s and 1800s.
Spanning times and styles, the upcoming programme showcases the wealth of variety we’ve come to expect from The Song Company – in the words of Artistic Director Antony Pitts, this is truly "a kaleidoscopic selection of music."