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!
SONGBIRDS – Available on all streaming platforms
FIONA LOADER Lorikeet Corroboree | LISTEN
HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Owens Springs Reserve 2014 | LISTEN
BRETT DEAN Notes from the Twittersphere | LISTEN
JANE STANLEY Desert Rose (from Four Desert Flowers) | LISTEN
FELICITY WILCOX People of this Place | LISTEN
TRISTAN COELHO Daybreak | LISTEN
GERARD BROPHY Beautiful Birds I. Lyrebirds II. Flamingos III. Hummingbirds | LISTEN
HOLLIS TAYLOR / JON ROSE Bitter Springs Creek 2014 | LISTEN
KATE MOORE Blackbird Song | LISTEN
Claire Edwardes (percussion/Artistic Director)
Jason Noble (clarinet)
Lamorna Nightingale (flute)
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR SONGBIRDS
“Celebrating 25 extraordinary years of music-making…Ensemble Offspring has created an attractive album.”
“This is an alluring and ear-catching album.”
–Vincent Plush, The Weekend Australian
“This music, while inspired by birdcalls, has them soaring to new heights of interpretation, light and life.”
“Nicely presented, with extensive notes and bios, there’s plenty to help the imagination paint vivid, colourful mind’s eye pictures to illustrate the stories in the music. Recording quality is, as would be expected from the ABC, excellent.”
“Stunning…Songbirds is an album of splendid, thought-provoking and evocative new music.”
– Helen Musa, City News
“Expertly melding found-sound recordings with live electronics and extended techniques, Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (clarinet) and Claire Edwardes (vibraphone) bring to life the sounds of some of Australia’s finest composers and most recognisable fauna.”
“These avian studies are fascinating and immersive.”
– Jessie Cunniffe, The Sydney Morning Herald
“A beguiling collection of chamber works”
– Sounds Like Sydney
“More sonic and textural delights abound throughout Songbirds, recorded with a rich, spacious clarity that complements precise, expertly nuanced performances by Edwardes, Noble and Nightingale. A beautifully conceived and richly rewarding album that is most worthy of 25th anniversary celebrations for this consistently excellent ensemble.
Lisa MacKinney, Limelight
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
We are deeply grateful to our donors and funding partners who have supported the commissions on this recording, many through Ensemble Offspring’s ‘Noisy Egg Creation Fund’. Get involved at www.givenow.com.au/noisyegg
Beautiful Birds by Gerard Brophy was commissioned by Ensemble Offspring’s Noisy Egg Creation Fund and premiered in 2019 at Birdsong at Dusk.
Blackbird Song by Kate Moore was commissioned by Ensemble Offspring’s Noisy Egg Creation Fund and premiered in 2018 on The Spel Tour.
Bitter Springs Creek 2014 by Hollis Taylor and Jon Rose was commissioned by Ensemble Offspring’s Noisy Egg Creation Fund with the generous support of Robin Budden and Linda Matthews, and premiered in 2019 at Birdsong at Dusk.
Daybreak was commissioned with the support of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund and recorded with support of the Australia Council for the Arts.
Thanks to Brooke Green, Stephen Adams, Hugh Robertson and the entire team at ABC Classic.
Ensemble Offspring is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts advisory body, and the NSW Government.
We work and play on Gadigal Land.