Half a lifetime ago, The Song Company was born into a musical landscape very different from today’s Australia. The idea of a permanent professional vocal ensemble to match the quality of Australia’s symphony orchestras and opera companies was a bold and forward-thinking move – today we are still growing and diversifying from that initial burst of energy, and have become agents of change for the next generation of singers across the country. With 35 years of vocal heritage to draw on, our 2019 season takes us even further beyond the usual boundaries of genre and style, with Mind Over Matter, a semi-staged chamber opera on 80s themes, and a collaboration with metal artists The Omnific in Power Chords Attached. We continue our rediscovery of communal reading from original manuscript sources with the sumptuous Renaissance polyphony of the Eton Choirbook in Treble Helix Unlocked, and bring together nineteen Australian composers for a newly-commissioned “conversation without words” in Nineteen to the Dozen.
To borrow a line from the artist who delighted in the impossible, we “try to awake wonder in the minds” of our audience, and so this season we venture with a mixture of the very fresh and the very mature – from music over 800 years old via the decisive harmonic progression of the 15th century and golden melodies of the 1980s to the latest outpourings of local creative minds concerned with the beauty and structure of the sounds that can come out of our mouths. Like the busy lifts in Mind Over Matter we go up and down, hunting high and low, for sounds from above, under, around, and beyond – finding in Escher’s transformations both the inspiration for the metal-to-plainchant fusion and a faint realization of the dizzying webs of melody chained up in the extraordinary collection of vocal music from Eton College. Our intimate popup shows include the time-honoured story of The Arrow of Song and our newly ensemble-curated Madrigalesque, while we focus the spotlight on one artist from the Company at a time in SongCo SOLO recitals of Schubert's Winterreise and Richard Rodney Bennett's Songs before Sleep. At the other end of the scale, 2019 sees new collaborations with the Choir of Trinity College Melbourne in Arvo Pärt's Passio, and a continuing celebration of sacred choral masterpieces with the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney including J.S. Bach's Jesu, meine Freude and Thomas Tallis’s 40-part Spem in alium. When we sing awesome, we mean awesome.