Emma Moore, Morgan Pearse, Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra, Hoshimi Sakai - Orphic Hymn #3: Nyx (Cameron Lam)

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The Orphic Hymns are a set of 87 ancient Greek texts written in the 3rd century CE. Each hymn venerates a different god or goddess in Greek mythology. This is the first time any of these texts have been set to music according to my research.

Nyx (pronounced Nux), is one of the oldest gods in Greek Mythology, the goddess of night, mother of dreams, sleep and death, called in this hymn ‘the god-bearer’. Nyx belongs to the oldest category of Gods, the protogenoi (Ancestor Gods) who preceded both the Titans and Olympians and tended to be personifications of the parts of creation (the Earth, the Sky, Night etc.).

Orphic Hymn #3 – To Nyx, sets both the orginal Greek text alongside the English translation by Pastor. Karl Hand. These texts are the focus of the piece with the orchestra providing support and commentary akin to a Greek dramatic chorus. This piece aims to create an intricate tapestry of colour, text and rhythm akin to the flowing and luscious nature of night itself.

Composer Bio: Cameron Lam (b.1989)
Website: cameronlam.com

Cameron is a Sydney-based composer and artistic administrator who, over the last six years, as President of the Sydney Eclectic Composers Society (2007-2009) and Artistic Director of hybrid-art production company, Kammerklang (2009, ongoing), has commissioned and presented over 150 new musical works by young and emerging Australian composers. While completing his Bachelor of Music Composition degree (with Honours) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Cameron worked with a range of university groups as well as stage managing for Ensemble Offspring, Electrofringe, Newcastle’s “This Is Not Art” Festival, and Sydney’s vocal chamber music specialists, Halcyon.

As a composer, Cameron has written for a variety of ensembles, from intimate chamber music to large scale works for voices and orchestra, to varying degrees of acclaim. Orphic Hymn #3: Nyx (Night) was winner of the University of Sydney’s 2009 PALM People’s Choice Award, while Orphic Hymn #9: Selene (The Moon) was commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts to be premiered by Kammerklang and Halcyon in 2010. Cameron is currently completing his first concerto, entitled Electric Phoenix, composed for EWI (wind synthesiser) and orchestra, for long-time collaborator Peter Smith.


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.


from Kammerklang: Alpha, released January 29, 2013
Composer: Cameron Lam
Translator: Karl Hand
Solo Soprano: Emma Moore
Solo Baritone: Morgan Pearse
Sound Engineer: Jayson McBride
Conductor: Hoshimi Sakai

Recorded for Kammerklang 2009


Flutes: Shaun Barlow, Owen Salome
Oboes: Toby Thatcher, Matt Bubb
Clarinets: Toby Armstrong, Peter Smith
Saxophones: Nathan Henshaw, Paul Zaborac
Bassoons: Jakab Kaufmann, Cameron Burnes
Horns: Seb Dunn, Kartini Suharto-Martin, Cindy Sims

Percussion: Daniel Luscombe, Morgan Merrell
Piano: Jacob Abela, Jack Symonds, Vatche Jambazian
Keyboard: Amy Bastow
Harp: Genevieve Lang, Verna Lee, Claire McDonogh, Maryanne Tucker

Violins: Justin Leong, Colin Tripolone, Carol Tang, Adam Wasiel, Davide Quincey, Ben Adler, Victor Wu, Liz Stanton, Klara Morrison, Michelle Blewett, Ting Lee
Violas: Tara Hashambhoy, John Faye, Luke Spicer, Dominic Meagher, James Wannan
Cellos: Julienne Guerbois, Emma Trevena, Anthony Albrecht, Lucy Price
Double Basses: James Menzies, Steven Adler, Elsen Price, Brigitte Wirfler, Brian Sim


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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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