Ensemble Offspring’s new album, Songbirds, is a surprising and beguiling collection of chamber works for flute, clarinet and percussion inspired by butcherbirds, blackbirds, lorikeets and leafcutter ants, frogs and flamingos. Originally intended to accompany the Ensemble’s 25th birthday concert tour, Birdsong at Dusk (presented as part of Sydney Festival’s Salon Series in 2020), the album is being released to celebrate both this major milestone and the creativity and endurance of the ensemble even in the face of a global pandemic.
With a little help from nine revered Australian composers, Claire Edwardes (percussion), Jason Noble (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Lamorna Nightingale (flutes) capture the calls and songs of Australia’s birds and create something new: familiar, yes, but unique and engaging and exciting too.
Throughout their rich history Ensemble Offspring have been an extraordinary force in Australian music: bold, risk-taking and tireless advocates of work by living composers – championing female and First Nations Australian artists in particular – and have fostered the creation of over three hundred works of new music. So it is no surprise that the majority of the works on this disc were written by some of Australia’s leading composers especially for Ensemble Offspring!