Birdsong

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Birdsong has inspired the creation of music for centuries. Its repeated motifs and interval patterns are distinctive, melodic, and perfectly suited for imitation or adaptation into a larger musical work. Australian composers have particularly been inspired by native birdsong to create a uniquely Australian sound.

Sirius Chamber Ensemble have collated a program of music which explores the birdsong inspired music of local composers including Alan Holley, Paul Stanhope, Corrina Bonshek and Nigel Ubrihien.

As Small Birds Play (2010) by Corrina Bonshek, is one such piece inspired by the sounds of birds and insects heard whilst sitting in Sydney’s Centennial Park. This piece will be performed in its original scoring, for bassoon and recorded birdcalls. This birdsong soundtrack was recorded by the composer in Capertree Valley (NSW), home to over 200 bird species including the yellow-faced Honey eater and the grey Shrike-thrush.

Alongside these works we will present some of the most famous examples of birdsong in music: Olivier Messiaen’s Le Merle Noir and Ralph Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending, in a new chamber arrangement by Sydney-based composer Paul Smith. Soprano Taryn Srhoj returns to perform songs by Berio, Michael Head and John McCabe.

 

When: Saturday 29th October 2016, 3pm.

Where: Christ Church, Lavender St, Lavender Bay.

Performers: Melissa Coleman (flute), Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon), Clare Kahn (cello).

Guest Artists: Vanessa Tammetta (violin), Taryn Srhoj (soprano), Sumiko Yamamura (piano).

Tickets: $30 Adults, $20 concession, $10 children. Tickets available at www.classikon.com or at the door.

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Concerts in Sydney, Picton and Newcastle

Portrait of French novelist and memoirist George Sand by Charles Louis Gratia.

 

Sirius is excited to be taking the Wind Quintet on the road over the next two weekends. Starting this Saturday 14th May at All Souls Church, Leichhardt; followed by a “Classics at Picton” concert on Sunday 15th May; and lastly at Adamstown Uniting Church on Saturday 21st May. We have chosen an eclectic mix of chamber music for woodwind trio and wind quintet all of which were commissioned or dedicated to various artists.

 

Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, Op. 43 is one of the key works of the wind quintet repertoire. In 1921 Nielsen was inspired to compose a wind quintet after overhearing a rehearsal of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante by members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet. Nielsen’s wind quintet was then dedicated to the ensemble who then premiered the work in 1922. The role of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet in the genesis of the work goes even further, as Nielsen captured musical portrayals of his friends’ characters and used their talents and personalities to inspire his composition.

 

Elena Kats-Chernin was commissioned to write a woodwind quintet for the Canberra Wind Soloists to perform at the Canberra Festival of Women’s Music in 2001. Kats-Chernin spoke of the Sand Waltz as “fitting to pay tribute to Chopin’s muse and a strong woman, writer George Sand. There is a quote from one of Chopin’s waltzes in the most reflective middle part of the piece. A short chord sequence from this piece became the main material for the movement Green Leaf Prelude of the Concert Suite Wild Swans in 2003.”

 

Belle Epoque en Sud-America – Suite for Wind Quintet by the Brazilian composer, Julio Medaglia, was written for the wind quintet of the Berlin Philharmonic, who recorded the work and have since frequently performed the work on their tours. Medaglia has arranged much Brazilian popular music for film and television. His suite for wind quintet takes many of these popular instrumental styles. Each movement reflects a popular dance or musical style – a tango, a waltz, and a chorinho.

 

If you had your wish and could commission a piece of chamber music, what style or genre would it be? As a wind ensemble, we find ourselves incredibly fortunate to have these pieces in our repertoire.

 

For tickets and more information:

Sydney and Newcastle: $30 Adults, $20 concession, $10 children. Tickets available at www.classikon.com or at the door.

“Classics at Picton”: $20 Adults, Students and Children Free. Afternoon Tea included. Tickets only available at the door.

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Music for Wind Quintet

carl_nielsen_c-_1908_-_restoration

Carl Nielsen photographed in 1908 by Georg Lindstrøm

 

Sirius Chamber Ensemble’s first project for the year will be a concert of music for wind quintet, featuring classics from the repertoire alongside recent music by Australian composers. Performances will be held in Sydney, Picton and Newcastle.

Carl Nielsen’s Quintet Op.43 is perhaps the best-known and loved work for wind quintet. Dedicated to the members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet, Nielsen captures the distinctive sound of each instrument and the players’ personalities in his modern, yet very accessible language.

Christine Draeger’s Variations on a Patriotic Love Song was written for Sirius and premiered in 2014. Researching her family tree, Draeger discovered a fellow musician amongst her ancestors, and adapted one of his songs for wind quintet. Draeger has crafted a pleasing set of lyrical, playful and sonorous variations featuring each of the members of the quintet.

Elena Kats-Chernin needs no introduction to Australian audiences, and her Sand Waltz for wind quintet has become one of the most performed pieces for this combination for good reason.

Andrew Schultz’s Six Miniatures for flute, oboe and clarinet exploits the diverse range of timbres available to these three instruments. Alternating short movements of free, flowing melodies and fast, virtuosic passages, these miniatures by one of Australia’s foremost composers deserve to be appreciated by a wider audience.

Belle Epoque in Sud-America by Brazilian composer Julio Medaglia is a fun-filled dance suite featuring a lively tango, dream-like waltz and a chaotic and exuberant finale featuring the Eb (piccolo) clarinet.

Sydney: Saturday, 14th May, 2pm – All Souls Church, Leichhardt (corner of Norton St and Marion St).

Picton: Sunday, 15th May 2016, 1:30pm“Classics at Picton”, Wollondilly Shire Hall, 44-60 Menangle St Picton.

Newcastle: Saturday, 21st May 2016, 7:30pmAdamstown Uniting Church, 228 Brunker Rd, Adamstown.

 

Perfomers: Melissa Coleman (flute), Alex Fontaine (oboe), Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon) and Julia Zeltzer (french horn).

Tickets:

Sydney and Newcastle: $30 Adults, $20 concession, $10 children. Tickets available at www.classikon.com or at the door.

“Classics at Picton”: $20 Adults, Students and Children Free. Afternoon Tea included. Tickets only available at the door.

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Postcards from Vienna

vienna postcard

The engaging and talented soprano Taryn Srhoj returns to perform with Sirius in Postcards from Vienna, featuring music premiered in Vienna between 1777 and 1913. The earliest piece, Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D major (No.1) will be followed by the more recent, Seven Early Songs for soprano and piano, and Four Pieces for clarinet and piano by Alban Berg. Complimenting the program will be Richard Strauss’ Das Alphorn for soprano, horn and piano, and Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, although no Viennese concert would be complete without a rousing finale by Johann Strauss. We are sure that you will be delighted by a humourous arrangement of Strauss’ Tritsch Tratsch Polka by our good friend and colleague Nigel Ubrihien.

This year we are presenting our performances at two venues. Saturday evening performances will be at Glebe Justice Centre, a relaxed venue with couches. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be available and the audience is invited to bring their own food and drink to enjoy during the concert. Sunday afternoon performances will be in the beautiful space of Christ Church Lavender Bay, where we will serve an afternoon tea at interval, overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Saturday 17th October, 7.30pm at Glebe Justice Centre, corner of St John’s Rd and Colbourne Ave, Glebe.

Sunday 18th October, 2pm at Christ Church, Lavender Bay, corner of Walker and Lavender Streets, North Sydney.


Tickets: $30 Adults/$20 Concession/$10 Children

Performers: Melissa Coleman (flute), Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon), Julia Zeltzer (french horn), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Georgina Price (viola), Clare Kahn (cello), Claire Howard Race (piano), with guest artists Taryn Srhoj (soprano) and Gabriella Pusner (piano).

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A Portrait: The Music of Alan Holley

Le Merle Noir. Photo credit: Fotolia

Rehearsals are underway for our concert with Alan Holley and Eve Duncan next Sunday afternoon. We will be presenting works composed by Alan Holley, Eve Duncan and other works that have had a profound influence on Alan’s career, such as Messiaen Le Merle Noir. The concert will also feature Borneo Songs, a suite of songs composed for solo voice and wind quintet – a collaboration between Alan and Jyoti Brunsdon (1941-2011) author, librettist, musician and editor. Originally commissioned by Enigma – Five, but rarely performed. It is a delight to be presenting this beautiful work inspired by the sounds and heat of the jungles of Borneo. Join us for an afternoon of music inspired by birdsong and hear Alan speak about his compositions.

Program:

  • Lutoslawki – Dance Preludes (clarinet & piano)
  • Holley – Musics for Sue (oboe & piano)
  • Holley – Edward Harvey Portrait (flute, clarinet & violin)
  • Messiaen – Le Merle Noir (flute & piano)
  • Holley – Take Flight (violin & cello)
  • Eve Duncan – Madonna & Child with Goldfinch (soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello)
  • Holley – Borneo Songs (soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn)

Performers: Taryn Srhoj (soprano), Melissa Coleman (flute), Alex Fontaine (oboe), Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon), Tina Brain (horn), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Steve Meyer (cello) and Claire Howard Race (piano).

Sunday 13th September, 3:00pm

Glebe Justice Centre, 37-47 St Johns Road, Glebe

Tickets can be purchased through ClassikON

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FACADE: AN ENTERTAINMENT

Portrait of Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) by Roger Fry

We are very pleased to promote the next production by Places and Spaces, in partnership with Operasmith & Co, a performance of William Walton’s Facade: An Entertainment. Containing settings of Edith Sitwell’s surrealist poetry, recited by Silvia Colloca, Simon Lobelson, featuring the Sirius Chamber Ensemble conducted by Luke Spicer: thirty-one musical vignettes that celebrate the eccentricities of our inner and outer selves.

In the 1920’s, William Walton and Edith Sitwell’s musical miniatures caused an outrage when performed with their scandalous mix of musical styles and absurdist prose. The cryptic words spoken through a megaphone by Sitwell herself, hidden behind a screen, together with Walton’s jazz-inspired music and rhythms of tango, foxtrot, tarantella and waltz through to the modern sounds of Satie and Stravinsky caused a sensation. Grouped together as ‘Facade’ and increasing in popularity over time, these peculiar musical vignettes are today celebrated for capturing the wit, frivolity and blithe spirit of the 1920’s.

This performance will present William Walton’s definitive collection – ‘Facade: An Entertainment’ published in 1951 together with ‘Facade 2: A Further Entertainment’ compiled for the Aldeburgh Festival in 1979. Three songs of Edith Sitwell’s poetry will also be performed, arranged by Luke Spicer.

Recited by Silvia Colloca (Orfeo et Euridice, SBS Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca) and Simon Lobelson (ROH, ENO, SSO), together with the Sirius Chamber Ensemble conducted by Luke Spicer (Orfeo and Euridice, Spectrum Now Festival), lighting by Colin Alexander, direction by Matthew Barclay and Johanna Puglisi for Operasmith & Co.

The performance is part of the Common Eclectic performance series at Glebe Town Hall, produced by Places and Spaces, in partnership with Operasmith & Co.

‘Facade: An Entertainment’ is a boundlessly imaginative interplay of words and music, join us for a joyful trip through English life in 1920’s, highlighting the nonsensical, the peculiar and quixotic!

Sun 16th August

Glebe Town Hall, 160 St John’s Road, Glebe

Performance at 5.00pm, Doors open at 4.30pm

Tickets can be purchased through Moshtix $30 + booking fee OR $35 at the door

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Beyond Desire: Music from England

IMG_0049

 

Our first concert for the year will feature guest harpist Georgia Lowe. Georgia will join the ensemble to perform the beautiful Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp by Arnold Bax and the Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite for clarinet and harp by Paul Reade. Members from Sirius Chamber Ensemble recently performed in the new musical Beyond Desire at the Hayes Theatre. Composer and director Neil Rutherford has transcribed a concert suite of his vibrant score for clarinet/bass clarinet, horn, violin, cello, harp and piano. Also on the program are masterpieces of the English chamber repertoire – Benjamin Britten Cello Sonata; and Gordon Jacob Four Fancies for flute, violin, viola and cello.

This year we are presenting our performances at two venues. Saturday evening performances will be at Glebe Justice Centre, a relaxed venue with couches. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be available and the audience is invited to bring their own food and drink to enjoy during the concert. Sunday afternoon performances will be in the beautiful space of Christ Church Lavender Bay, where we will serve an afternoon tea at interval, overlooking Sydney Harbour.

 

Performance dates and venues:

Sunday 24th May, 2pm at Christ Church, Lavender Bay, corner of Walker and Lavender Streets.

Saturday 30th May, 7.30pm at Glebe Justice Centre, corner of St John’s Rd and Colbourne Ave.

 

Performers: Ian Sykes (clarinets), Melissa Coleman (flute), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Georgina Price (viola), Clare Kahn (cello), Claire Howard Race (piano), with guest artists Georgia Lowe (harp) and Tina Brain (french horn).

 

Tickets: $30 Adults/$20 Concession/$10 Children

Available online: classikon.com or at the door.

 

 

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2015 Concert Series

Sirius Chamber Ensemble is pleased to announce our concert series for 2015, featuring two full-length concerts and two recital-style collaborations with local composers, Alan Holley and Spike Mason.

 

Our first concert in May – Beyond Desire: Music from England – will feature guest harpist Georgia Lowe. Georgia will join the ensemble to perform the beautiful Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp by Arnold Bax and the Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite for clarinet and harp by Paul Reade. Members from Sirius Chamber Ensemble recently performed in the new musical Beyond Desire at the Hayes Theatre. Composer and director Neil Rutherford has transcribed a concert suite of his vibrant score for clarinet/bass clarinet, horn, violin, cello, harp and piano. Also on the program are masterpieces of the English chamber repertoire – Benjamin Britten Cello Sonata; Gordon Jacob Four Fancies for flute, violin, viola and cello; and Geoffrey Bush Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano.

 

In October the engaging and talented soprano Taryn Srhoj returns to perform with Sirius in Postcards from Vienna, featuring music premiered in Vienna between 1777 and 1913. The earliest piece, Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D major (No.1) will be followed by the more recent, Seven Early Songs for soprano and piano, and Four Pieces for clarinet and piano by Alban Berg. Complimenting the program will be Richard Strauss’ Das Alphorn for soprano, horn and piano, and Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, although no Viennese concert would be complete without a rousing finale by Johann Strauss. We are sure that you will be delighted by a humourous arrangement of Strauss’ Tritsch Tratsch Polka by our good friend and colleague Nigel Ubrihien.

 

This year we are presenting our performances at two venues. Saturday evening performances will be at Glebe Justice Centre, a relaxed venue with couches. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be available and the audience is invited to bring their own food and drink to enjoy during the concert. Sunday afternoon performances will be in the beautiful space of Christ Church Lavender Bay, where we will serve an afternoon tea at interval, overlooking Sydney Harbour.

 

Sirius Chamber Ensemble is excited to be performing two concerts in collaboration with local composers this year. In September we will celebrate Alan Holley’s 60th birthday by presenting a retrospective of the composer’s chamber works, as well as notable compositions that have inspired his work, including Messiaen and Lutoslawski. In November, we will join forces with composer and saxophonist Spike Mason for a concert of entirely new music. More details about the two composer collaborations will be announced shortly.

 

Beyond Desire: Music from England

Sunday 24th May, 2pm at Christ Church, Lavender Bay, corner of Walker and Lavender Streets.

Saturday 30th May, 7.30pm at Glebe Justice Centre, corner of St John’s Rd and Colbourne Ave.

 

Postcards from Vienna

Saturday 17th October, 7.30pm at Glebe Justice Centre, corner of St John’s Rd and Colbourne Ave.

Sunday 18th October, 2pm at Christ Church, Lavender Bay, corner of Walker and Lavender Streets.

 

Performers: Ian Sykes (clarinet), Alison Evans (bassoon), Melissa Coleman (flute), Julia Zeltzer (french horn), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Georgina Price (viola), Clare Kahn (cello), Claire Howard Race (piano), with guest artists Georgia Lowe (harp), Taryn Srhoj (soprano) and Alex Fontaine (oboe).

Tickets:

$30 Adults/$20 Concession/$10 Children

Available at www.classikon.com or at the door.

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Sirius Chamber Ensemble – Australia Day Recital

Happy New Year from Sirius Chamber Ensemble! We have some exciting plans for 2015, including our first recording project and an expanded concert series. More details about our guest artists and concert program will be released in the coming weeks.

The ensemble will begin the year with a short, informal recital at St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Macquarie St, Sydney at noon on Australia Day. Entry is free (donations are encouraged), and the location is ideal for those enjoying the celebrations in the city on Australia Day.

Program:

Kristofer Spike – Promenade for flute, clarinet and piano

John Rutter – American Miniatures for flute and clarinet

Otar Taktakishvili – Sonata for flute and piano

Performers:

Melissa Coleman (flute), Claire Howard Race (piano) and Ian Sykes (clarinet).

When: Monday 26th January 2015, 12 pm.

Where: St Stephen’s Uniting Church, 197 Macquarie St, Sydney.

Tickets: Free Entry (donations encouraged).

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Strange Bedfellows

What makes strange bedfellows? A strange title for a chamber music concert perhaps? Well, yes but we do have a group of very different people all connected together in the one activity, that being making music. And for our last performance of our 2014 series, Sirius Chamber Ensemble presents a concert of music for unusual combinations of instruments. Joining our regular line-up of woodwinds, strings, brass and piano are special guests Andrew Smith (alto saxophone) and Matthew Collins (trumpet). Music includes the Australian premiere of Aaron Copland’s Quiet City in its original instrumentation, and The Death of Baldr, a new work written especially for Sirius by local composer Paul Smith.

Quiet City, by Aaron Copland

The original score for the play was composed for trumpet, alto saxophone, B♭ clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), and piano. In the composer’s own words, the piece was “an attempt to mirror the troubled main character of Irwin Shaw’s play”. The man, who had abandoned his Jewishness and in pursuit of success had married a rich socialite and became president of a Department store; however, was continually recalled to his conscience by the haunting sound of his brother’s trumpet playing. Copland also observed that, “Quiet City seems to have become a musical entity, superseding the original reasons for its composition”, owing much of its success to its escape from the details of its dramatic context.

The Death of Baldr, by Paul Smith

Norse mythology has long been a source of inspiration for a variety of media. Paintings, novels and video games have all depicted or based their figures on gods and monsters from Norse mythology. The movements of this work, for both the full sextet and the three solos, respond to different characters in the famous tale of the death of Baldr, god of light. As with many mythologies, the pantheon of gods govern different parts of life and nature. The tone of each movement reflects this. The piece culminates with a movement inspired by chief god, Odin, who approaches Baldr’s funeral pyre and whispers, ‘rebirth’.

La Revue de Cuisine, by Bohuslav Martinu

In 1927 Martinu wrote the 10- movement jazz ballet The Temptation of the Saintly Pot, incorporating the popular Charleston, Tango and the Foxtrot dances to complement the unlikely tale of a kitchen utensil love-triangle. Martinu condensed the ballet into a four-movement suite and under the new title of La Revue de Cuisine “The Kitchen Revue”, the suite was premiered in Paris in 1930.

Radio Praga - Ecos del jazz en la obra de Martinů

Radio Praga – Ecos del jazz en la obra de Martinů

 

The program also includes music by Prokofiev and Koechlin.

Program:

  • Sergei Prokofiev – Overture on Hebrew themes for clarinet, string quartet, piano
  • Paul Smith – The Death of Baldr for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, cello and piano
  • Charles Koechlin – Epitaph de Jean Harlowe for flute, alto saxophone and piano
  • Aaron Copland – Quiet City for alto saxophone, trumpet, clarinet/bass clarinet and piano
  • Bohuslav Martinu – Revue de Cuisine for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, cello and piano

 

Performers: Melissa Coleman (flute), Ian Sykes (clarinets), Alison Evans (bassoon), Julia Zeltzer (french horn), Martyn Hentschel (violin), Clare Kahn (cello), Claire Howard Race (piano)

Guests: Andrew Smith (alto saxophone), Matthew Collins (trumpet), Vanessa Tammetta (violin), Luke Spicer (viola), Belinda McGlynn (piano).

 

Saturday 1 November, 7:30pm

Glebe Justice Centre (formerly Glebe Café Church), 37-47 St Johns Rd, Glebe

Tickets available at classikon.com or at the door

Admission: $30 Adult/ $20 Concession/ $10 Child

BYO food, drink and alcohol welcome. Tea, coffee and refreshments available

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