January 2018 - songs of mortality
Polyphonic Voices' first performances of 2018 was as part of the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial EXTRA festival in January. The choir performed music by composers such as Allegri, Byrd, Leighton Jones, and Ešenvalds to accompany the premiere of Australian artist Ron Mueck's work Mass, which is intended as a study of mortality and inspired by images of the Cambodian genocide.
Thousands of visitors came enjoyed performances by Polyphonic Voices over five special evenings in January 2018. The choir also performed at the exclusive NGV Patrons and Media launch in December 2017.
Monday 22, Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 January 2018
- Versa est in Luctum, Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
- Versa est in Luctum, Joseph Twist (b.1982)
- Civitas sancti tui, William Byrd (1540-1623)
- For the Fallen, Michael Leighton Jones (b.1947)
- De profundis, Illebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)
- Death be not proud, Daniel Riley (b.1992)
- Lux aeterna, Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
- Agnus Dei, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
- Amazing Grace, arr. Ēriks Ešenvalds (b.1977)
Friday 19 and Saturday 20 January 2018
- Sleep, Eric Whitacre (b.1970)
- O vos omnes, Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
- Lux aeterna, Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
- Faire is the Heaven, William Harris (1883-1973)
- The Spheres, Ola Gjeilo (b.1978)
- Civitas sancti tui, William Byrd (1540-1623)
- Miserere mei, Deus, Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652)
- Amazing Grace, arr. Ēriks Ešenvalds (b.1977)
1, 2 and 9 December 2017 - Deck the Halls
Deck the Halls, the choir's final concert program of 2017, celebrated the festive season with a glorious selection of sacred and secular Christmas music from the past 500 years, from countries such as Argentina, Finland, Germany, France, the USA, UK and Sweden. Interwoven throughout were arrangements or original compositions by young Melbournians Dan Walker, Daniel Riley and Peter Campbell, and a new composition by talented Sydney-based composer Alice Chance. With performances in Parkville's beautiful Wyselaskie Auditorium and in Bendigo's newly-refurbished St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, and with appropriately-themed drinks and nibbles included in the ticket price, we couldn't have put together a better way to reflect on the year that's been and to begin to entertain the prospect of Christmas and holidays!
26 August 2017 - Salut Paris!
In its second concert program of 2017, Polyphonic Voices presented Salut Paris! - an all-French program in which the choir was joined by guest organist Thomas Gaynor (USA). Featuring music by Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy alongside the Messe Salve Regina of contemporary French composer Yves Castagnet, this performance showcased some of the lesser-known musical gems to come out of France over the past two centuries.
20 and 28 May 2017 - Motets at Montsalvat
In its first program of 2017, Polyphonic Voices continued to explore the vast repertoire of choral motets with well-known (and not so well-known) selections from throughout the history of Western Art Music. The unique program juxtaposes different settings of the same pieces of text: Eric Whitacre's and Thomas Tomkins' settings of "When David Heard", Olivier Messiaen's and Tomás Luis de Victoria's "O Sacrum Convivium", Samuel Scheidt's and Tarik O'Regan's "Surrexit Christus", Orlando di Lasso's and Francis Poulenc's "Videntes stellam Magi", and Tomás Luis de Victoria's and Andrew Baldwin's "O vos omnes". Of course, an exploration of motets wouldn't be complete without some Johann Sebastian Bach, and the choir will be only too happy to oblige with "Fürchte dich nicht" and "Komm, Jesu, Komm".
Polyphonic Voices returned to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo for the first concert of this program on Saturday the 20th May, and on the following Sunday 28th May performed the program again at Australia's oldest artists' community, Montsalvat. Founded in 1934, Montsalvat is a collection of gorgeous old buildings situated on picturesque grounds in Eltham, northeast of Melbourne, and is home to various painters, sculptors, woodworkers, luthiers, and musicians.
12 November 2016 - Requiem - St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne
13 November 2016 - Requiem - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo
19 & 20 November 2016 - Requiem - St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide
Polyphonic Voices joined forces in November with the internationally award-‐winning Adelaide Chamber Singers and some of Melbourne’s finest instrumentalists and talented vocal soloists for performances of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in Melbourne, Bendigo and Adelaide. This was the first such collaboration between the two choirs, and with combined vocal forces totalling more than 40 singers.
Polyphonic Voices and the Adelaide Chamber Singers were accompanied by St Paul’s Cathedral organist Lachlan Redd, as well as a chamber orchestra led by violinist Sarah Curro and comprised of some of Melbourne’s finest freelance musicians. The Melbourne performance will also feature vocal soloists Suzanne Shakespeare (Soprano) and Nick Dinopoulos (Bass-‐Baritone), whilst the Bendigo and Adelaide performances featured soloists drawn from the choir. Polyphonic Voices and the Adelaide Chamber Singers also presented their own selections of unaccompanied choral music, including works by William Byrd, Herbert Howells, Giuseppe Verdi, and Australian composers Daniel Brinsmead and Paul Stanhope.
The collaboration received critical acclaim including a review from Graham Strahle in The Australian. The Melbourne performance was recorded by 3MBS for later broadcast. The Adelaide performance on 19 November was recorded by Neville Clark. Hear Polyphonic Voices singing "Ne irascaris, Domine" by William Byrd by clicking on the link below.
30 July 2016 - Cabaret! - The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood
Polyphonic Voices was joined by two very appreciative audiences for matinée and evening performances of Cabaret! at The Melba Spiegeltent. The wild winter weather was soon forgotten, as the choir performed three toe-tapping sets of music featuring show tunes, jazz standards and pop covers, in the process paying homage to the vocal groups whose arrangements contributed to the music's popularity, including The Andrews Sisters, The King's Singers, Jones 'n' Co, and The Manhattan Transfer. The choir was very lucky to be joined by drummer Evan Pritchard and bassist Tom Flenady, who along with conductor Michael Fulcher on the keyboard provided a wonderful backing throughout the evening.
Both performances also served as the official launch for the the choir's debut album Poles Apart which was launched by president Thomas Bland at the matinée, and by patron Michael Leighton Jones at the evening performance. Copies were made available for purchase at the performances, and can now also be purchased on this website.
6 May 2016 - Beneath the Stars - Melbourne Planetarium at Scienceworks (sold-out)
Polyphonic Voices' second performance of its Beneath the Stars program was at the Melbourne Planetarium at Scienceworks, where the choir collaborated with the renowned astronomer and projection artist Dr Tanya Hill to produce a truly unique aural and visual spectacle. Performing to a sold-out venue, the choir sang the same program of music as they did the previous week in Bendigo, but paired each piece of music with live projections and animations of the night sky. The audience, who were fully-reclined for the duration, spoke incredibly highly of the experience at the conclusion of the performance.
Click here to view a copy of the concert program.
30 April 2016 - Beneath the Stars - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo
Polyphonic Voices kicked off its 2016 concert season with a performance in Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral on a cold and blustery Saturday evening. The appreciative audience were treated to a program of ethereal music perfectly suited to the space, with pieces by composers such as Eric Whitacre, Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo, John Tavener & David Bowie. This was Polyphonic Voices' second performance in Bendigo after their debut in October 2015 when they presented their Motets program. The choir will return in November for a performance of Faure's Requiem with the Adelaide Chamber Singers.
Click here to view a copy of the concert program.
23 April 2016 - The Hilltop Hoods + the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra & Polyphonic Voices
Australian hip-hop group the Hilltop Hoods collaborated with state symphony orchestras and local choirs for The Restrung Tour with performances in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth. The tour featured music from their latest album ‘Drinking From The Sun, Walking Under Stars Restrung’ along with hits from earlier years.
Special guest on the national tour was London-born, rural Ireland- raised singing star Maverick Sabre, who has already collaborated with the Hilltop Hoods on hits ‘Won’t Let You Down’ & ‘Live and Let Go’. With a short career already producing UK gold-selling 2012 debut album – ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ – Maverick’s keenly-observed lyrics and superb soul vocals will be the first time Australian audiences experience the class that is Maverick Sabre.
Also performing with the Hilltop Hoods, and conducting each local orchestra and choir was New Zealand born conductor Hamish McKeich. Hamish has forged an impressive international conducting career working regularly in Europe, Australia and with New Zealand’s major orchestras – he has also performed in places as far flung as China to Armenia, Lebanon to Italy. Hamish has established an acclaimed partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and served as the Orchestra’s Associate Conductor from 2002-2006 and performs and records continually with them to this day. Hamish also possesses a passionate loyalty for developing the repertoire of contemporary and experimental music and has worked with acts as diverse as Salmonella Dub, Marlena Show, and Serj Tankian (System Of A Down) and The Pointer Sisters.
The Melbourne show in a sold-out Rod Laver arena featured the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the ladies of Polyphonic Voices.
24 October 2015 - Motets in the Gaol - Old Melbourne Gaol
NED KELLY WOULD HAVE SWOONED AT THIS.... Melbourne’s best young chamber choir went to gaol!
On Saturday 24 October at 7:30 pm, the twenty-voice Polyphonic Voices voluntarily became guests of Her Majesty at the Old Melbourne Gaol for a fabulous concert called Motets in Gaol.
The walls have rarely resonated with beautiful sounds, but that all changed when Polyphonic Voices performed some of the most beautiful choral music ever written. The grimy bluestone walls of the cells and corridors resonated with a programme of fabulous motets featuring two of Bach’s six great motets – Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (BWV 226) and Singet dem Herr nein Neues Lied (BWV 225). Also featured was a performance of the famous Allegri Miserere, with its beautiful ethereal treble solo.
Classic Melbourne attended and reviewed the concert. Read the full review here.
17 October 2015 - Motets in the Cathedral - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo
Polyphonic Voices ventured out of Melbourne to Bendigo to perform in the sublime acoustics of Sacred Heart Cathedral. The performance was a preview of their 2015 season finale: Motets in the Gaol.
The program was inspired by the great masters of the choral tradition. J.S. Bach's famous motets Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied and Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf featured alongside works by Victoria, Philips, Bruckner and Łukaszewski. Other programme highlights included Allegri's anguished Miserere mei, Deus and Whitacre's sublime Sainte Chapelle.
21 August 2015 - American Songbook - Revolt Productions
Following the hugely successful events of Southern Stars and Northern Lights, Polyphonic Voices presented its most exciting concert yet from its Poles Apart season.
American Songbook was a cocktail evening featuring classics from the golden era of the Broadway musical, including songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin & Jerome Kern. The group mastered a number exciting and new arrangements of these well-loved tunes in a program that went off with a bang.
Polyphonic Voices was joined by a smooth trio including artistic director and jazz-piano extraordinaire, Michael Fulcher, on the keys, Tom Flenady on Bass and one of our own singers, Tom Baldwin, on the drums.
In the contemporary warehouse under dimmed lights, and with a cocktail in hand, over 250 guests had an evening transporting them to a 1920's uptown Manhattan jazz-club.
From red carpet entry to the last encore, this was a night to remember.
24 May 2015 - Northern Lights - Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts
Having opened their 2015 season with Southern Stars - a collection of works by Australian and New Zealand composers - Polyphonic Voices next presented works from our European antipodes, Scandinavia & the Baltic states, in Northern Lights.
Polyphonic Voices painted the sounds of the Aurora Borealis onto the vast white walls of ACCA’s Grand Gallery. This resonant space providing the ideal musical setting for the eerie melodies and shimmering harmonies of traditional lullabies and folksongs of the region.
The group was joined by Katherine Taylor, first violinist with the MSO, and renowned cellist Paul Ghica for ‘Plainscapes’ - a Pēteris Vasks work of stunning and tranquil beauty. ‘Northern Lights’ by Eriks Ešenvalds saw power chimes and water-tuned glasses (Rob Cossom and Lara Wilson) added to a musical soundscape that reaches 10-part choral harmonies throughout the concert. The concert also included works by Gjeilo, Mäntyjärvi and Rautavaara.
Melbourne artist, Fiona Valentine, collaborated with the group for Northern Lights by painting, live at the event, a visual reaction to the sounds filling the gallery. Her finished painting was auctioned following the concert, with proceeds donated to the Lazarus Centre charity.
22 March 2015 - Southern Stars - Christ Church South Yarra
This was the first concert in our 2015 concert series Poles Apart, in which we feature music from opposite sides of the globe. The program was a special undertaking featuring music from Australia and New Zealand commemorating Gallipoli and the ANZACs. All of the music was written by living composers, the concomitant challenges relished by the talented singers of Polyphonic Voices. As is true to our name, much of the music is written for eight or more parts and many with solos as well.
Composers included Matthew Orlovich, Andrew Baldwin, Anthony Ritchie, Phillip Gearing & Peter Leech.
15 November 2014 - Magnificat! - St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne
Polyphonic Voices concluded their inaugural season with a festive collaboration of extraordinary talent from across Australia and New Zealand to mark the beginning of Advent and the ANZAC Centenary commemoration.
Magnificat! featured J.S. Bach’s celebrated work Magnificat in E-flat (BWV243a) directed by Michael Fulcher, performed in collaboration with Voices New Zealand, Melbourne Polyphonic Players and Australian Baroque Brass. The choirs were joined by soloists Siobhan Stagg, Emma Muir-Smith, Michael Petruccelli and Michael Leighton Jones. Preceding the Bach, an evocative collection of settings of the Magnificat and other Marian texts were presented by each choir individually and together.
J.S. Bach (BWV 243a)
Baldwin, Łukaszewski, Rachmaninoff, Schnittke,
Tavener and Tomkins
About the concert, Artistic Director, Michael Fulcher wrote:
It is very exciting to be presenting this programme with my new friends in Polyphonic Voices and my old friends, Dr Karen Grylls and Voices NZ, the Australian Baroque Brass and last but not least, Sarah Curro and her Polyphonic Players. Sarah and her associate musicians have a wealth of experience in period performance practice from ensembles like the Australian Chamber Orchestra and others. It is equally exciting to be able to present the rarely heard Christmas version of the Bach Magnificat, the version in E-flat major at Baroque pitch (A415). This splendid and cheerful work will lift your spirits, I’m sure. The first half of our programme also highlights just some of the many masterful settings of the Magnificat and other Marian texts over the centuries to the present day.
The Polyphonic Voices repertoire is, except for the Tavener, set for double choir at least, the Victoria for triple choir. The Tomkins Third Service is one of my personal favourites as, like the Bach BWV 243a, it is rarely heard either in divine service or concert.
I am very much looking forward to some of the rarely heard music from Voices NZ as well. I know you will enjoy the variety of choral scoring of the first half from both choirs as you will see as well as hear the variety of placement of singers from one piece to the next.
I do hope to see you at our Polyphonic Voices concerts next year so do look out for details of our 2015 season elsewhere in this programme. Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook.
The concert was reviewed by Peter Williams of Classic Melbourne. You can read the review here.
20 September 2014 - Songs of Farewell Repeat - Christ Church Castlemaine
This performance was the third concert performance of Polyphonic Voices in its inaugural season. It was a slightly abridged version of the program sung earlier in the year in the Chapel of Trinity College.
8th August 2014 - A Midwinter Christmas - The Chapter House
Polyphonic Voices presented a heart-warming program to thaw the bleakest of midwinter nights.
Accompanied by mulled wine and wintery treats, A Midwinter Christmas, located in the beautiful Chapter House showcased some of the very best choral repertoire of the festive season, often unperformed in a Southern-Hemisphere Christmas.
About the concert Patron of Polyphonic Voices, Dr Avril Brereton wrote:
“Polyphonic Voices are warming us tonight in the midst of our Australian winter with a varied and interesting program of Christmas music.
We will hear, and join in singing, well-known carols, but this thoughtful program also reminds us that Christmas is a time that brings people together around the world to celebrate. To that end we will hear carols sung in German, French, Latin, and also a selection of American music that celebrates the fun of the festive season. The concert is another opportunity to hear outstanding performers sing under the direction of Michael Fulcher. Enjoy!”
This recording is taken from the live performance by Polyphonic Voices on Friday 8 August, 2014.
16th May 2014 - Songs of Farewell - The Chapel of Trinity College
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
The inaugural concert of Polyphonic voices, marking 100 years since the beginning of the Great War, through six themes.
Visions of Heaven
Featured composers include:
Duruflé, Fauré, Howells, Morley, Pärt, Tavener and Parry
About the concert our Patron The Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne, wrote:
"Polyphonic Voices have put together an evocative program of vocal music throughout the ages to take us on a musical journey – a journey that leads us to reflect more deeply on the sacrifice and cost of the Great War in particular, and wars and conflicts throughout the ages.
This concert is therefore not only an opportunity to hear some outstanding performers sing some wonderfully moving music, but also an invitation to us to ponder how the arts of peace – words and music – can be a means to remember and, ultimately, to bring healing where so often conflict still prevails."
Songs of Farewell was repeated in Castlemaine at Christ Church Castlemaine on Saturday 20 September 2014.
3rd December 2013 - Gloria in excelsis Deo: Music & the feast of Christmas - Melbourne Recital Centre
As part of the Melbourne Recital Centre's Musical Explorations series in 2013, Polyphonic Voices provided the musical examples for a lecture presented by Dr. Sue Cole.
This lecture examined some of the masterpieces of the sacred choral repertoire composed for the Christmas season. It explored various national traditions of Christmas music from the medieval English carol to contemporary compositions.
Following the performance, Kirsten Siddle, Director of Programming and Presenter Services at Melbourne Recital Centre said "We were delighted to have Polyphonic Voices included in the event as their energetic and very musical performance added an extra depth to the evening that the audience clearly enjoyed..."