Birds have fascinated poets for centuries, not just for their song and flight but as symbols: of hope, freedom, love, communication, peace, luck good and bad, and migration. And what better way to honour them than by sending songs out into the air?
In a new song cycle stemmed from an idea by Anna Goldsworthy, Australian music legend Paul Kelly and leading Australian composer James Ledger have written thirteen new songs and soundscapes inspired by birds. Using the words of John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Judith Wright, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gwen Harwood, A.D. Hope and others, each poem is its own world - delicate and intimate at times, colossal and soaring at others, with all states in between.
Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly and composer James Ledger are joined here by celebrated piano trio Seraphim (Anna Goldsworthy – piano, Helen Ayres – violin and Tim Nankervis – cello) and singer-songwriter Alice Keath to create a unique marriage of electronics, acoustic instruments and the human voice, celebrating winged creatures from the barn owl to the nightingale, from the thornbill to the falcon, from the magpie to the swan.
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Black Cockatoos (Judith Wright)
The Darkling Thrush (Thomas Hardy)
Leda and the Swan (WB Yeats)
Barn Owl (Gwen Harwood)
A Barred Owl (Richard Wilbur)
"Hope" is the thing with feathers (Emily Dickinson)