Soloists and Ensemble
Move MCD 636
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Felicity Wilcox’s major composition, the chamber opera Threading the light, was completed and recorded in 2012 as part of her PhD in composition. It has now been released, spurred on by its recent world premiere performance by The Cooperative at Pitt Street Uniting Church. Its title, and those of its four movements (Light, Water, Blood and Fire), reference the importance of ritual in transcending worldly concerns. Texts (sung by three soloists, Alison Morgan, Jenny Duck-Chong and Mark Donnelly) come from many faiths and include two prayers written by her late brother, Gavin Wilcox, to whom the work is dedicated. Strings, in both solo and ensemble settings, and percussion provide acoustic instrumentation.
An electronic instrument, the samples of which are derived from Himalayan singing bowls, provides shimmering and transcendent tones which, tuned in just intonation, increasingly contrast with the equal temperament tuning of the ensemble: in ‘Water’, the acoustic instruments seem to rise naturally from their electronic bedrock; in ‘Fire’, there are dissonance, microtones, tension. I found listening to this a fascinating, immersive experience.
– Paul Cooke