Kammerklang: Alpha

by Kammerklang

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    Peter McNamara's percussion concerto The Styx, written for solo percussionist and chamber orchestra. Originally premiered by Claire Edwardes and Kammerklang in 2009. [Digital download score]

    Cover Art by Luke Moseley.

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about

A compilation of music written for Kammerklang in 2009 and 2010, ALPHA features soloists Claire Edwardes (Ensemble Offspring), Jenny Duck-Chong (Halcyon), Alison Morgan (Halcyon), Emma Moore, Morgan Pearse and the Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra. This album spans the full gamut of Kammerklang works, from intimate solo and chamber music to bold and inventive works for voices and full chamber orchestra, all written by emerging Australian composers. Kammerklang is Sounds Made Real.

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released January 29, 2013

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tags: Sydney

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Kammerklang Sydney, Australia

Kammerklang (German for “Chamber sound”) is an Australian arts company specialising in the collaboration of music and other artforms, focusing on the fusion of sound and the “chamber” or space it’s performed in. The aim of Kammerklang is to present and promote new artistic creation that is inquisitive, detailed and accessible while still fostering exploration and communication between the arts. ... more

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Track Name: Emma Moore, Morgan Pearse, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Hoshimi Sakai - Orphic Hymn #3: Nyx (Cameron Lam)
Orphic Hymn #3: Nyx
(translated by Karl Hand)

To the God-bearer, Mother of Men,
I shall hymn this even-song.
To Night! The primal origin,
(We name Thee, Love!)
Hail, happy Goddess,
Black with starry gleam,
Joy in Thy quietude,
And our peaceful, heady dreams.
Midnight merrymaker’s friend,
In labour for our delusions,
And work release from every
fraught fury - Thy gentle rest!
Entrancing, beloved absolute,
Sparkling rider in the dark.
You are not whole where you dwell
You are shady, heaven’s hell.
And circle, like a bird of prey
those playful spirits you pursue.
And light is damned by you,
And into damnation again you flee
To hell’s gate, for not even you
are immune to the governance of necessity
And so I summon blessed Night,
For Earth is longing for your richness.
Hail, full of grace,
Listen to they servant’s supplication
And with thy favour, dismiss
the sparkling terrors of this night.
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Orphic Hymn #9: Selene (Cameron Lam)
Orphic Hymn #9: To Selene
(translated by Karl Hand)

Hear us, Holy Queen,
who sends the light through Selene!
Bull-horned moon! Running in the night, and
wandering through the sky.

You are of the night: Fire-brand, maiden, lovely star.
You develop and then you depart.
You are woman
and you are man.

Luminous.
Fond of horses.
Mother of time, and
the bringer of harvest.

Amber and sullen.
Glittering in the night.
Keeping watch over all,
and teeming with pretty stars.

Rejoice in your solitude,
in the heritage of this
peaceful moment.

O exalted bringer of joy.
Bringer of maturity.
The glory of Night.

Robed star Queen.
Runner of labyrinthine paths.
All wise maiden.

Come blessed, gentle, lovely-star.
Shine in your
three ways.

Exalted One,
and Saviour of new initiates,
Maiden.
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Dual (Felicity Wilcox)
(Text by Marcus Whale)

There, ruined red, strung taut in a
skein, the walls leak words,
some you have said above me,
over the length of me.

If, waiting, your lily heart
succumbs, dissolve from me.
I know no other who
subjugates me.

How you mythologise me.

Your wealth
of strangeness, that dirge.
You say you map
skies in breath, the way
tiny weight gathers
in torrents
I have loved your hands
above, codeine high,
channeling through
our bulk, fused.

Tussled
or thrown.
Hurled.
Now
new.

How your skin rustles in a scene –
like a newborn.

Your tongue lashing short of coherence.
A waking prayer, lipped and gleaming off your
cheek.

How you mythologise.

I raked you in position, a pregnant child forced
into bathwater.
I might crouch
myself in
your yowl,
where icing
won’t frost
past winter.

Beside, what sanctity stirs
hulk like, imposed.
I once slurred your images
together to the handprint,
I left you loaded
with my
marrow,
slewn.

Wild.

Newborn.
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Resonance (Owen Salome)
Text by Ella Salome

On the first day there was solitude,
The second day was peace
And there beneath the open sky
I found my soul’s release.

On the first day there was loneliness,
The second day was silence
and lost there in the barren land
I ended it with violence.

I found myself among the stars
I let the night consume me
Since that day I’ve travelled far
The shadows still consume me.

The essence of my very being spread across the
earth,
Flying, I fell upwards
yet,
Somehow I still sank below,
Unable to tell sand from snow.

Not equal to anything I’d ever
Screamed/Dreamed
About in so many sleepless nights
Of wandering,
Squandering my life away.
Today I found
That the sound was echoing
Through my unguarded mind,
Always from behind,
No matter where I turned.

It burned through
My ears
were filled with something glorious,
A chorus
Unequalled by any before,
Like a door from the heavens had opened in
wel’come in’
It seemed to beckon,
Like the gaping maw of a beast,
And as I fell forward all thinking ceased.

On the first day there was solitude,
The second day was silence
And there beneath the open sky
I ended it with violence.

On the first day there was loneliness,
The second day was peace
and lost there in the barren land
I found my soul’s release.
Track Name: Jenny Duck-Chong, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Zmey Lipa - Dragon of the Linden Tree: I. In the Cave (Damian Griffin)
Zmey Lipa - Dragon of the Linden Tree
I. In The Cave
Text by Jacqueline Brocker

~Many centuries ago...~

Ah! You have returned, strange man, in your
armour, and with your sword. Yet you do not
attack me. I wonder why...you sit and watch me,
and you are attentive in ways I have never seen. All
creatures respect me, fear me, or worship me; the
humans, the rabbits, the sparrows, the wolves, the
eagles, the mice, the foxes...but you are cautious,
not fearful. You intrigue me, and so you can stay.
Crouching in my cave, covered by the dark, the
shafts of dusty light only leave the dank rocks and
the black water more frightening to your sight. Or
at least, they should...for here I have often lain,
lurking and waiting for prey to stumble through
the jagged mouth of my cave.

You cannot see into this dusky light, only hear,
and that you cannot see you fear, as you cannot
comprehend what I am. This is how it should be...
but it is not quite for you, is it, strange man?
Never mind. I am not afraid of the darkness, and
you are not either. We can sit together. And you
can listen.

See those roots above us? They are of the tree that
gives me life, that leaves the air around us with its
scent. That is the linden tree that sits on the hill
above this cave. This cave is my dominion, but the
tree above is my life. The linden’s roots stretch
into my world, and lend the earth and rocks and
air that surrounds me its fragrance. When I take
flight, on my return I look down from the sky and
see the hill, where the tree that grows above me
stands. Tall and abundant with leaves. It is not as
grand or as mighty as an oak, but it is my tree. My
tree...ha! I should not claim ownership to it. The
tree is my life, my own god, and is a truer, more
steadfast god than...well...you understand.
You should love the tree as I do. I will tolerate
many transgressions, but should any harm come
to that tree, I will not be forgiving.

What? You say I am unforgiving in my ways
towards the people of this land? Well...perhaps.
But have you heard my story?

I may not be all you imagine me to be. To you, I am a
symbol of many things, and yet is that my essence?
Am I but an evil being, made to be defeated? The
other that you fear, the embodiment of all of
your darkest thoughts and nightmares. Or am I
a great protector, whose presence wards off far
greater evils than myself? Invading armies, wild
beasts who fear not humans but run from me. Is it
perhaps not as simple as darkness and light, much
like this cave with its murkier air?

You have named me as you saw me. I have had
many human names. Yes, I am Zmey Lipa, the
Dragon of the Linden Tree...yet that is not who I
am.

Oh, you will not understand my name. Creatures
of the earth, animals of the land, they do not name
each other the way you humans do. In that sense
I have no name, but I do have an identity. I am
known by scent, by sight, by my footfall and the
beating of my wings. All of these distinct markers
make up me. My name is an image, a sense, a
feeling.

And ultimately, my name is meaningless without
all of this. You know that. The people have named
me to try and confine me to that name, but this
failed them. And so instead, out of their fear...they
revered and worshipped me.

Think on this. I am not a god, except in the minds
of the people. The people left me offerings of
cattle, sheep, gold, and finally their children. So,
I embraced the role that was granted unto me.
And in return, they had my protection, and my
tacit promise I would not harm them. And thus I
became their god.

There are many days that I emerge from this place,
my cave, allow the heat of the sun onto my body,
and my scales grow warm in the light as I take to
the air and sky. I unfurl my wings – to stretch them
out feels exhilarating. My form casts shadows
across the fields and the forests as I rise higher in
the air.

Then from those heights, I fly. And I look down
over the lands, and the creatures of those lands.
The animals know me well, and respond with
respect and trepidation. Whilst the people...
especially the people...I see the awe in their eyes,
and I sense my own body’s power. My wings,
their leathery expanse frightens them most as it
may seem like I am about to engulf them whole,
swallow them up, snatch them, or their precious
cattle, in my teeth and claws.

And when I do...the flesh catches in my claws,
the blood is warm and lush as it gushes down
my throat. The tearing, the snapping, and the
screaming, all surrounds me as I feast on what
they have made mine. They have made me theirs,
and so, what is theirs is mine.

For they no longer bring these me their offerings.
Where once there was abundance there is now
emptiness. Do you think I was happy to see
nothing but dirt and rocks outside my cave where
food and treasure were once given? Do you?
And had you been in my place, would you have
been so forgiving?
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Zmey Lipa - Dragon of the Linden Tree: II. On the Hill (Damian Griffin)
Zmey Lipa - Dragon of the Linden Tree
II. On The Hill
Text by Jacqueline Brocker

~In our time...~

A young man and a dragon stand on a hill, in the
shade of an ancient linden tree. An autumn breeze
blows gently as they look out across the fields,
valleys, and trees below them.

Then the dragon, Zmey Lipa, says “It’s warm
out here, in the sun, even as we stand under the
branches of the tree. Lands stretch out before us.
And above, the sky looms large, and a brilliant
blue in the autumn. I suppose, for a human, you’re
about as close to touching sky as you’ll ever be.”

There is a pause, and the young man, Peter,
smirks. “Don’t you think that phrase is kind of...
dumb? You know, ‘touch the sky.’ The sky’s not
solid, is it? I mean, you’d know that better than
I do, right?”

Zmey Lipa looks irritated, and responds. “Here
I am, trying to be poetic, and you, as they say in
English, take the wind out of my sails.”

“Out of your wings, you mean?” Peter says,
grinning even more broadly now.

Zmey Lipa snarls a little, though it doesn’t startle
Peter, for there is not much force behind it.
“You’re not as funny as you think you are, boy.”
Peter sighs. “I’m hardly a boy...though compared
to you, I guess I am just a baby. Besides...”
There is a pause, before he continues, his voice
much quieter. “You spend a lot of time laughing
at me. I amuse you, because I’m not as old or
knowledgeable or wise as you. So I say a lot of
stupid things.”

Zmey Lipa thinks on this for a while. Finally, he
speaks again. “You do amuse me, it is true. Please
don’t be too hurt by that, I mean no disrespect. It
is...fondness, actually. You are curious about me,
about my kind, more so than most other humans.
It is...flattering. And do not think I am wise just
because I am old.”

“You still blame yourself for...what happened,
beneath our feet, in the cave below?” Peter asks
gently.

Zmey Lipa doesn’t respond to this directly.
Instead, he says, “This tree is no doubt wiser than
I am. It is certainly as old as I, perhaps older. Look
how its leaves rustle in the breeze. See how the
seed pods fall, twirling to the ground--”
“You’re being poetical again,” Peter interrupts,
though he means it kindly. “Don’t make me put
my iPod on to drown you out.”

Zmey Lipa looks at Peter askance for a moment,
and then becomes more contemplative. “The
people would have been wiser to worship this tree.
Yes, boy, I do blame myself for what happened, in
the days when I was a god, and the time I ceased
to be.” Then he smiles, ruefully, before adding,
“You would not think it now looking on me.”

“But life is very different now, for you.”

“I was like an arrogant, spoilt teenager. Truly,
Peter, that is what I was. I was just like the evil
dragons in the old tales,” Zmey Lipa says, with a
rawness that Peter is startled by.

After a long moment, Peter finally says, “But not
all dragons are. They never have been. Some
are protectors, some are equal defenders of the
fields. You guarded the crops as often as destroy
them.”

“Hmm. And paid the price for that.”
Peter nods. “Yes, yes that’s true. But...you
learned, didn’t you? And I know it is not as simple
as the stories make it – at least, since meeting
you, I really know that. And I know it by...well,
feeling it. It’s not just knowledge anymore. It’s...
instinctive.”

Zmey Lipa looks about to speak, but he cannot
seem to find the words. Instead, he looks at Peter
with an expression of gratitude.

Then Peter grins again. “And besides, some
dragons have always been friends of foolish boys
like me.”

Zmey Lipa shakes his head, but he is smiling.

“You’re a strange boy, Peter.”

“And you are an unusual dragon, Zmey Lipa.”
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Sadaharu Muramatsu - Empty Shells (Pedro Oliviera)
Soul Food
by Vanessa Yeoman

Empty shells crumble into dust

Young and full of beans
Juicy pods on the vine
Not yet ripe
They swing in the breeze
Force fed with sunlight
Energy to grow up wholesome
Well adjusted
But their roots are buried in the darkness
Buried in the blood and bone

The seasons pass
The vine sags with the weight of them
Jostling for room in the fading winter light
They look at the vine
Its delicate tendrils
Its soft velvet hairs
Such fragility
Such weakness
And they wonder
How it holds them there

The wild wind blows
They hear a creaking
There something lies
A solid trellis hidden in the leaves
To which the weak vine clings
They want to break away
But that is to be broken
Back and forth they swing
As freedom blows by
Leaving nothing but a chill
And they wonder
Whose plot is this?

With heavy hearts
Ripe for the reaping
They wait
And they wonder
Who is their soul food for?

Empty shells
Track Name: Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong - Vitality's Circuit Grind (Lucy Kong)
Poem by Patrick Davies O’Sullivan

Rutted in the daily grind.
A comfortable schedule for some, a cage though
to my mind.

Two weeks of annual leave and weekend release
is small sympathy to slave on the 7.30 bus and
the 8 o’clock train — sardine tin commuter, then
locked for the day in front of a computer.

Harsh beat the whips of fluorescent bulb glow
upon eyes sorely dried by the steady blow of an
air conditioner that labours all day.

For 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, this happens;
and more, is expected of all in a city or town in
an urban society. Is this the lure of sophistication?
If a body doesn’t follow suit and subscribe they
can’t survive, and are swept under the rug, killed
— executed, in this overcrowded gaol to make
room for a more productive prisoner.

Yet people still crave the outside, so the soma of
Hollywood kicks in, shows blockbuster movies to
thrill and excite, so the inmates sleep satisfied of
their bodily lusts at night.

And this makes the mass mindless and dream
mediocre dreams, able to be fulfilled in the
penitentiary, other spirits still flap feebly for a
taste of real living but are impotent in this cage,
like an eagle with clipped wings, unable to escape
until old age and habit accept the bars.

Once-pure hearts are seduced and corrupted just
to make a quick buck.

Capitalist punishment; selfishness indoctrinated
from the first, to mould young minds that the
whole point in life is to live for a profit.

The meaning to life, now the question is
answered, keep up with the trends and own the
best new gadgets; rampant consumerism gives
a wanderer direction, while disposable cash and
food go make a home just a house because it’s just
another fashion.

These are the manacles, the manacles we put on
ourselves; lucky to be safe in the asylum, from
disease and hunger and struggle and things
that just want to eat you. We lock ourselves up
because the real world is hell.