About the Music
Jasmine and Wattle contains a broad cross section of the Chamber Choir’s repertoire and includes music specifically chosen for the World Choir Games in Shaoxing and the Choir’s 2010 China tour. The entire CD was recorded in one session – a testament to the Choir’s consistency, excellence and stamina!
The CD is organised in four categories:
|Tracks 1 – 7||Traditional choral|
|Tracks 8 – 10||Chinese traditional|
|Tracks 13 - 14||Contemporary/Pop|
|Tracks 15 - 23||Australian|
The music ranges from the 16th century through to recently composed works. Styles include a late Renaissance work for three choirs by the north German composer Hieronymus Praetorius, and music from the standard choral repertoire of many countries – France (Maurice Ravel), Denmark (Per Norgård), Finland (Jaakko Mäntyjärvi), and America (Samuel Barber). Traditional folk music is represented by a number of Australian folksongs along with three Chinese folksongs.
Aside from modern arrangements of traditional Australian melodies, the Choir is proud to champion Australian modern music, especially recent compositions that highlight Australia’s heritage, landscape and culture. Nigel Butterley’s Morning Fanfare (1958) is a landmark for Australian choral writing of the mid 20th century with its traditional text by Auden. Iain Grandage’s The Owl and the Pussycat (2003) presents the delightful Edward Lear text in a vivid and playful modern setting. The works by Paul Stanhope (Geography III and VI) represent recent trends in Australian choral style, in which the music is direct and colourful, with strong melodic and rhythmic lines. Harmonically, the music has at times an ‘edginess’ or ‘sharpness’– a quality the Australian language and landscape also possess.
Over the last two years the Choir’s live performances have been enhanced with the addition of choreography. Rock music and other contemporary songs were added to the Choir’s repertoire during its winning performances on the national television series Battle of the Choirs in 2008. In China the Choir performed songs by Sting, Coldplay and Queen where choreography added a distinctive element to the concerts! The choreography also ‘infiltrated’ other works such as the four pieces from the Australian folklore section (above) and El Hambo.
The music on this CD was recorded in Shanghai at the end of our tour. Each song carries many special memories for each of us – music is a shared experience. We hope that listening to Jasmine and Wattle brings you as much enjoyment as it did us recording it for you.
Dr Philip Matthias