31 Jan

A Singular Voice now in stock

Have you ordered your copy yet of William Kempster’s new book A Singular Voice: the Choral Music of Ross Edwards?

Behind-the-scenes: receiving first copies from the printers and sending out pre-orders in early January.

There are even more reasons to do so. Wildbird has made available on our website a playlist of streamable recordings of some of the works featured in the book. We aim to provide this service with all our books. Please go to Resources and enter Audio and start enjoying some of Ross’ choral music. Some of the compositions you can hear include Dawn Mantras, Mass of the Dreaming, and Quem Quaeritis – a play of the nativity.

Also, since our last news, Ross has turned 80.

Happy Birthday, Ross!!!

We hear more choral music is on the horizon from Ross and a new chamber opera Love and the Music, on the love story of Gustav and Alma Mahler. So we look forward to the incredible body of vocal writing by Ross continuing to grow.

Besides being able to order a copy directly from our website, the book is now available from the Australian Music Centre, Amazon in the USA for international purchases, and at selected bookshops.

We hope you enjoy our latest book.

01 Dec

New book about Ross Edwards

To celebrate the 80th birthday of distinguished Australian composer Ross Edwards this month, Wildbird has much pleasure in announcing the publication of A Singular Voice: the choral music of Ross Edwards.

Written by Australian/American choral conductor and scholar William Kempster, who has conducted numerous performances of Edwards’ choral music and spent many years researching and writing this book, Wildbird’s latest publication celebrates both the composer and his extraordinary compositions for choral groups.

Edwards has written a wide-ranging body of vocal works throughout his life as a composer and has had many performances throughout the world. Following the Wildbird style of books on Australian music, A Singular Voice examines Edwards’ vocal works chronologically with many musical examples which underline and support the text.

A Singular Voice will be available from Wildbird for $44.95 (plus postage) and from other outlets from January 2024. However, Wildbird is pleased to make this book available for pre-orders until 31 December 2023 as a Special Offer, for $39.95 (plus postage).

With all good wishes to Ross for his 80th birthday on 23 December 2023,

The Wildbird team.

Ross Edwards portrait
26 Oct

Wildbird welcomes composer Helen Gifford

Wildbird is delighted to announce the publication of Fable for solo harp by Helen Gifford, in a new critical edition by Jacinta Dennett.

Fable (1967) is one of the key works in the repertoire for the harp by an Australian composer. It calls on the harpist to evoke the mysterious world of an old legend, using a wide range of techniques and sonorities specific to the harp.

This publication is a new edition by Dr. Jacinta Dennett. The score has been prepared in consultation with Helen Gifford. Dr. Dennett has examined annotations by other harpists and clarified aspects of the notation with the composer to produce this critical edition of the score.

Fable was commissioned for the 1968 Adelaide Festival by Donald Peart through the International Society of Contemporary Music (Melbourne Branch) and was written for an advanced harpist. Huw Jones, principal harp with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, gave the first performance.

Fable can be ordered online for $15.95 plus postage. The score will also available for purchase from the Australian Music Centre.

12 Aug

PRE-ORDER “The Music of Liza Lim”

New book by Tim Rutherford Johnson

Wildbird is very pleased to announce that advance orders for the fifth volume in our Australian Composers series are open from Thursday 11 August 2022.

Following on from our books on the music of Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Nigel Butterley and Carl Vine comes the latest volume on the music of Liza Lim written by one of England’s leading authorities on contemporary music, Tim Rutherford-Johnson, well-known for his book Music after the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture since 1989.

The Music of Liza Lim will be launched at the Philharmonie in Berlin on 11 September by Musikfest Berlin in association with the Australian Embassy in Germany.

Advance orders received via the Wildbird website up to 11 September will cost AUD$49.95 (incl. GST) and will be posted on Monday 12 September with no additional charge for postage for orders within Australia. After this date, Wildbird will need to add standard Australia Post charges to all domestic orders due to a surge in costs since the onset of COVID.

From 12 September 2022, The Music of Liza Lim will also be available from the Australian Music Centre, some Amazon sites and selected bookshops.

We hope you will support our efforts to examine and promote the work of Australia’s leading composers by ordering your copy of The Music of Liza Lim.

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.