Presented by Phoenix Central Park

Watch performances of selected song cycles from IN SONG. 
New videos released weekly.

Text by Charles van Lerberghe

Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Eve awakens in Eden, embarking on a day of sublime discovery. Fauré’s music itself is revealed like a garden coming into being, unfolding from incredibly simple elements, single pitches emerging one by one, until we are suddenly aware that we are deep in rich harmony, the garden in full bloom. Eve’s body is foregrounded all the while, arriving at an ecstatic, sublime conflation of her self with the garden.

Completed in 1910, this song cycle represents Fauré’s extraordinary late style: a miraculous, radiant reimagining of harmony beneath an unbroken surface of subtlety and refinement.

Text by Louis Garrick
World premiere

Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

An adaptation of lines from The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oracle Utanapishti tells Gilgamesh of the great flood, a cataclysm engulfing the whole world – how they survived, and what the world looked like in the aftermath. Three linked songs chart this fragment of a foundational myth, heard here in their world premiere.

Text by Stefan George 
Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

This revolutionary song cycle completed in 1909 teeters on the brink between Romanticism and Expressionism, all of its suppurating tonal wounds exposed. Schoenberg’s protagonist stumbles through a garden in decay, lovesick and reeling. The songs travel through vague anticipation (1, 2) and longing (3 – 5) to obsession (6 – 8), frustration (9), reverie (10), brief consummation (11), and finally doomed resignation (12 -15). George’s poems, with their themes of exquisite disorientation, serve to support some of the most radical musical gestures Schoenberg had yet made.

What is foregrounded for the most part is not the personage of the beloved, not their features or their actions; rather, what is rendered in extremely fine detail is the slowly rotting garden and its contents. Through the metaphor of the garden, what is most salient to us is the way that heartbreak tastes, smells, and feels, the oppressive dis-ease of it.

Text by Jules Renard

Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Completed in 1906, this song cycle sees the traits of four birds and a little cricket lightly satirised and anthropomorphised to form a surprisingly profound portrait of inter-species folly. Ravel’s piano and vocal writing here exhibits an inhibition and release from tradition which breathes the fresh air of fin-de-siècle French music, effortlessly pointing forward to the refined waterfalls of sound he was about to unleash in the first few decades of the century.

Text by Andreas Gryphius

Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Wolfgang Rihm is one of the leading living German composers and his vast, hugely varied output includes many song cycles. Vermischter Traum dates from 2017 and is a dark, anguished setting of Baroque poet Andreas Gryphius’s meditations on time and death. Uniquely, Rihm chooses a form that sets and re-sets the same text, as if the singer were turning over these weighty thoughts in his mind and coming to different conclusions. In an arch structure of seven songs, the 2nd, 4th and 6th all wonder about time, the 1st and 7th literally ask the question – ‘what is life?’ while the 3rd and 5th are extended death-bed meditations on the failing body. 

The musical language is a natural extension of the Lieder tradition. The harmony is thick with allusion and the weight of 200 years of German song, while the vocal line is cognisant of the history of Romanticism and Expressionism. Rihm has created a major addition to the art song repertoire in every respect.

Text by Bertha Galeron de Calonne

Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

This perfectly-formed song was composed in 1916 towards the end of Boulanger’s tragically short life. An extraordinary composer, she managed in her 24 years to create a unique body of work that combines the various threads in French music at the time and synthesise them in an uncommon originality. Direct, radiant and, at times cataclysmic, this song represents her art at its finest.

Presented in a re-purposed Gothic church in Alexandria, this recital-installation is a series of four artsong programs tracing a journey from the dawn of musical expressionism to a diverse clutch of Australian and world premieres, illustrating where the form has found itself in the 21st century.

SCO’s adventurous and virtuosic singers Emily Edmonds, Anna Fraser, Simon Lobelson and Jane Sheldon will find common threads between composers, eras, styles and continents to craft a rare and comprehensive overview of the scintillating art of modern song.

Inside an evocative installation by artist Elizabeth Gadsby, these singers will illuminate a body of work indispensable to the artistic story of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Think artsong begins and ends at Schubert? Let IN SONG show you its recent past, present and future.

Program One
Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Pascal Dusapin Wolken (AP)
Mary Finsterer Nearing Circumpolar (WP)
György Kurtág Three Old Inscriptions (AP)
Gabriel Fauré La chanson d’Ève

Program Two
Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

György Kurtág Requiem for a friend (AP)
Lili Boulanger Dans l’immense tristesse
Luigi Dallapiccola Four poems of Antonio Machado (AP)
David Evans In my brain (WP)
Arnold Schoenberg The Book of the Hanging Gardens

Program Three
Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Francis Poulenc Banalités
Jack Symonds Nothing other than silence (WP)
Samuel Barber Hermit Songs
Kaija Saariaho Quatre instants (AP)

Program Four
Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Wolfgang Rihm Vermischter Traum (AP)
Maurice Ravel Histoires naturelles
Benjamin Britten Songs and Proverbs of William Blake

Installation Artist
Elizabeth Gadsby

WP= world premiere
AP= Australian premiere



‘The Church’
9 Mitchell Rd. Alexandria

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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.