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Program note: Flower Songs Ross Edwards

  • Elliott Gyger
  • Source: The Song Company Music and the Environment 22 & 23 April 1993

Flower Songs  Ross EDWARDS (b. 1943)

I Ecstatic  II Tranquil

Flower Songs, commissioned by Nicholas Routley for the Sydney Chamber Choir in 1987, is scored
for 16-part choir and two percussionists. The piece follows an interesting trend in Australian
choral music (also exemplified by Anne Boyd's As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams and several works
of Percy Grainger) in sidestepping the perennial problem of finding a text, by selecting a series
of words entirely for sound value (in this case, the Latin and Greek names of several Australian
wildflowers). This ensures that the work will stand on its own as a purely musical structure, without
being conditioned by word setting or text structure.

Stylistically, the two movements of Flower Songs are typical of Edward's'Maninya'style,
with its diatonic harmony and rhythmic dynamism.

Elliott Gyger