26 May

Coming Soon: The Music of Liza Lim

Wildbird is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of the fifth book in the Australian Composers series: The Music of Liza Lim. This volume follows on from Wildbird’s books on Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Nigel Butterley and Carl Vine.

The Music of Liza Lim has been written for Wildbird by Tim Rutherford-Johnson who is well-known as a British new music critic, journalist and blogger, author of Music after the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture since 1989 (University of California Press) and editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Music, 6th edition (Oxford University Press). He recently co-authored a history of music in the twentieth century with Stephen Graham, Tom Perchard and Holly Rogers (Cambridge University Press). He studied at the University of Nottingham and at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Liza Lim is one of Australia’s most outstanding composers with an ever-growing international reputation. She has written a large body of work for a wide range of performing bodies from solo instruments and chamber groups to large ensembles and orchestras, from stage works to music for installations.

In Australia, Liza Lim’s long association as a composer with one of the country’s leading new music ensembles ELISION has been particularly important and fruitful. And her many connections to a wide range of cultural and intellectual sources informs much of her creative work and has been carefully explored by Rutherford-Johnson.

Liza Lim is currently Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the University of Sydney where she leads Composing Women, a development programme which aims to foster and empower women composers.

As with the other volumes in Wildbird’s Australian Composers series, this new book on Liza Lim is full of musical examples which underline the discussion of her musical language. Each chapter specifically examines her music across a wide-ranging repertoire, beginning with solo instrument works and concluding with her incredible operas.

Subscribe to the Wildbird Music newsletter to be informed when this book examining the music of a major 21st Century composer is released in the coming weeks…

21 Feb

Vale Nigel Butterley

Brian Howard, Nigel Butterley and Elliott Gyger

It is with great sorrow that we have received news at Wildbird of the death of Nigel Butterley.

Nigel was 86 and Australia’s senior composer. His life was dedicated to composition and his contribution to the canon of our music was of great beauty and substance.

For so long there was a triumvirate of Nigel Butterley, Richard Meale and Peter Sculthorpe and my connections to all three of them go back a long way, with so many memories of good times, not-so-good times and very human times in between. Now all three of them have gone.

Farewell, dear Nigel… we will remember you with love and affection,
Brian Howard

02 May

“Sentinel” by Brian Howard reviewed in Limelight Magazine

Wildbird is pleased to read the latest review from Vincent Plush at Limelight Magazine for the premiere performance of Brian Howard’s Sentinel (2020) which took place at the Canberra International Music Festival, May 2021, with Noriko Shimada on contraforte and Roland Peelman conducting. About Howard’s work for contraforte and chamber ensemble, Plush writes:

Nothing could have prepared us for the shock of Brian Howard’s new work. … Long ago, Howard eschewed the easy options of post-modern euphony in an uncompromising assertion of a tough, gritty and flamboyant personal language. Sometimes the result is confusing and disorienting. More often it is exhilarating and revitalising as it challenges the conventional orthodoxy of what new music can and might be.

Vincent Plush, Limelight Magazine

The full review of the concert can be read at the following link: https://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/reviews/ḥarim-ميرح-canberra-international-music-festival/

08 Apr

Wildbird welcomes composer Elliott Gyger

Wildbird is delighted to announce the publication of two scores by Elliott Gyger: Inferno for solo piano and Precipice for oboe and piano.

Elliott Gyger is one of Australia’s outstanding composers, known for his wonderful chamber operas Fly Away Peter and Oscar and Lucinda, orchestral works, choral music, chamber music and instrumental and solo works. He is a highly-respected composition teacher at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne and author of the book The Music of Nigel Butterley in Wildbird’s Australian Composers series.

Inferno (2013) for solo piano is one of the great Australian piano works. The composer has written about Inferno in the introduction to the score:

Powerful images from Dante’s vision of Hell provide programmatic starting-points for a series of pieces whose internal logic is nonetheless purely musical. The vocabulary imprisons powerfully expressive gestures within tightly controlled structures, creating Lisztean tableaux of virtuosity and damnation influenced by Messiaen, Carter, Ligeti, Birtwistle and other giants of the post-war avant-garde.

The cycle consists of nine Etudes for the nine Circles of Hell, framed by four brief Interludes corresponding to the Rivers of Hell, together with a Prelude and Postlude. Each Etude explores a different subset of the piano’s range, moving gradually downward and alternately expanding and contracting across the cycle. All four Interludes, by contrast, traverse the same harmonic field spanning the entire range of the instrument, as well as the same metrical structure. Another recurring element is the transposition of Dante’s distinctive terza rima (three-line stanzas with interlocking end-rhymes: aba bcb cdc …) onto musical parameters.

– Elliott Gyger

Inferno was conceived as a single work, designed to be played in its entirety. However, Gyger shows us in the introduction some possible selected sections of the score for pianists not wanting to play the complete work.

A recording of this work is available on Inferno: The piano music of Elliott Gyger (MD3376; 2014) an album recorded on the Move Records label by pianist Michael Kieran Harvey.

Precipice (2010) for oboe and piano was commissioned as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The composer has written in the introduction to the score:

A pièce de concours denotes a work for solo instrument and piano, intended as a test piece for advanced students. It typically includes opportunities for slow, expressive playing, demonstrating the player’s control of tone quality and phrasing, as well as rapid, agile passages to display technical facility. The term sometimes carries connotations of musical slightness – but there are certainly counterexamples, among them Debussy’s celebrated Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano.

Precipice takes the idea of the pièce de concours as its starting point, but arranges its various components into an unexpectedly dark narrative. In addition to its topographical meaning, there is a less common definition of “precipice” as a precarious state or situation of great peril: connotations of danger and excessive speed (as in the adjective “precipitous”) are also relevant to the mood of the work. The oboe here is intrinsically a plaintive, lyrical instrument — agility is attainable but doesn’t come naturally, and always seems vulnerable to collapse.

– Elliott Gyger

Precipice has two movements: “At the edge” and “After the fall.” This publication comes with a main score for the pianist and a separate part for the oboist.

Wildbird is pleased to announce that these two scores can be ordered online: Inferno $45.00 plus postage, and Precipice $29.95 plus postage. Scores will also be available to purchase from the Australian Music Centre.

15 Jul

3 Helpmann Award nominations for “Metamorphosis”

Wildbird Music congratulates the production team for the 2018 staging of Brian Howard’s opera Metamorphosis on the following nominations for Helpmann Awards in the Opera & Classical Music category for 2019:

  • Opera Australia, nominated for Best Opera
  • Simon Lobelson, nominated for Best Male Performer in an Opera, for his role as Gregor
  • Taryn Fiebig, nominee and winner in the category Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera, for her role as Mother
21 Aug

Two new score publications

Wildbird is pleased to announce the publication of two more scores by Brian Howard:

Alchemy, his String Quartet No.1

Desires Ingrained, for solo violin

You can listen to Desires Ingrained performed by Vera van der Bie in Amsterdam in October 2016 in the Resources section of this website.

Wildbird has a Special Offer on these two new scores from 21 August to 4 September. You can access this at Shop / Special Offers.

27 Mar

‘The Music of Carl Vine’ by Rhoderick McNeill reviewed in Limelight Magazine

In the September 2017 issue of Limelight Magazine Will Yeoman reviewed the fourth volume of Wildbird’s Australian Composers series, The Music of Carl Vine by Rhoderick McNeill.  Yeoman writes:

This is a fascinating and highly readable account of Vine’s compositional and stylistic development over the course of some four decades of sustained work in a diverse range of genres.  As such, it is as clear and thorough an overview to the unique sound-world of one of our greatest living composers as one could wish for.

20 Mar

‘The Music of Carl Vine’ by Rhoderick McNeill reviewed in ‘The Studio’

The Music of Carl Vine by Rhoderick McNeill received a review in the May 2017 issue of The Studio (Vol.23 No.2), the journal of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW. Reviewer Dr Rita Crews writes:

This book is most highly recommended and provides an accurate and valuable contribution to the study of the complex but distinctive style of Carl Vine featuring numerous musical examples that illustrate the various references made in the text.

13 Mar

‘The Music of Carl Vine’ by Rhoderick McNeill reviewed by Peter Campbell in Context journal

The Music of Carl Vine by Rhoderick McNeill was reviewed in Context journal, Issue 42 (2017) by Peter Campbell, who writes:

This is a wonderful addition to the output of Wildbird Music, an organisation taking up the reigns from the mainstream publishing houses that are rarely bringing forth such volumes these days.
McNeill has succeeded in providing us with a rich reading of all the major compositions across Vine’s career so far, an output deserving of such attention and even greater prominence in Australia’s musical story.

Read the full review via the Context website.

04 Sep

Metamorphosis

Opera Australia has announced that Brian Howard‘s opera Metamorphosis will receive a new production in the 2018 season.

This will be the fourth production of this opera after Nigel Triffitt (VSO) Melbourne, Graeme Murphy (OA) Sydney and John Milson (WAAPA) Perth.

Metamorphosis will be staged in Sydney on 26, 27, 28 and 29 September 2018 and in Melbourne on 25, 26 and 27 October 2018.

The new production will be directed by Tama Matheson with set and costumes by Mark Thompson.

Paul Fitzsimon will conduct with Simon Lobelson, Julie Lea Goodwin, Christopher Hillier, Taryn Fiebig, Adrian Tamburini and Benjamin Rasheed as the cast.

Find out more from Opera Australia: https://opera.org.au/whatson/events/metamorphosis-sydney