Composers: Michael Kennedy, Gordon Hamilton, Edward Elgar, David Brodsky, Hildegard von Bingen, Wipo von Burgund, John Taverner, Francis Pott, Alice Chance, Joe Twist, Tenzin Choegyal, John Rotar, Lachlan Skipworth
Compositions: Choral Music
Performers: The Australian Voices, Gordon Hamilton cond
Catalogue Number: TAV TAV13
Elsewhere is The Australian Voices’ latest offering, led by Artistic Director Gordon Hamilton and featuring not a small number of his works and arrangements.
It commences with a stirring arrangement of Lay Fallow – a “meditation on the fertile earth” according to Hamilton’s notes. A showcase of the group as much as its soloists, it’s an emotive reminder that music can be befitting of its environmental context. Hamilton arranged two Hildegard of Bingen works, the second of which – O Ignee Spiritus – is forceful and contains non-Western traditional chants and techniques. Hamilton requests we “imagine a golden-haired maiden calling to her cows” while listening to Alice Chance and Joe Twist’s compositions, each of which are called Kulning. These works evoke an eerie remoteness through calls, echoes, and gentle vocal drone. Heart Sutra reawakens with Hamilton’s lively arrangement of Tenzin Choegyal’s work; while Lachlan Skipworth’s moving Over and Over brings the album to a somewhat ironic finish.
The singing is immaculate and the group moves together seamlessly. Though aurally awe-inspiring, the album would have been made complete by an explanation as to why it has been compiled. If the decision to bring together these works had been identified beyond a simply defined “celebration of sound”, this may have yielded another star in the rating.