Jack Symonds - Cycle & Song


Jack Symonds is the artistic director of Sydney Chamber Opera; a forward-thinking, venturous company, performing 21st century theatre-works. In this, his debut release, we have a collection of his chamber works for small ensembles. Deeply complex and layered writing for a lush, yet austere sound-world.

"The pieces on this album reflect my obsession with miniaturisation and love of song. They are all related by a desire to cannibalise - in the most loving way - vocal works I find endlessly fascinating from composers as diverse as Schubert and Sciarrino.

Song Cycle, the earliest work here is modelled on the proportions of the songs that its various movements reflect. At the time I wanted to find a rigorous way of making a very personal ‘history of art song’ coexist across purely instrumental movements of extremely diverse expression, without pastiche or sarcastic deconstruction. It has been an ongoing preoccupation of mine to filter a kind of Romanticism through what I believe to be a still-living tradition, and Song Cycle showed me the way to find hundreds of points of connection along the complex continuum of harmonic history.

This is equally true of Ein Fremder in fremden Land - another suite-like piece - but here a portrait of a single composer who I shockingly omitted from Song Cycle due to received ignorance; Zemlinsky. I find enormous personal resonances with the way he viewed the world and the music around him.

The two smaller violin works perhaps betray my immersion in Kurtág as I was preparing to perform his life-changing song cycle …pas à pas- nulle parte… Dealing with his music for an extended period applied a harsh mirror to any extraneous development or gesture, and I felt a healthy compression of my own ideas take place.

These pieces focus on warped classical processes gave me a platform to apply the same to actual song: the Rilke Lieder give literal and metaphorical voice to the whole gamut of my preoccupations, all in the smallest possible space." - Jack Symonds

Doretta Balkizas, violin
Timo-Veikko Valve, cello
James Wannan, viola/viola d'amore
Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jason Noble, clarinet
Jack Symonds, piano

Recording by Matt McGuigan
Assisted by Eleanor Witt
Edited by Alex Goldstein & Jake Craig
Mixed by Alex Goldstein
Mastered by Andrew Edgson



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