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Program note: Southern Cross Chants

  • Ross Edwards
  • Source: The Song Company Songs. Signs and Stars December 2004

Southern Cross Chants - Ross Edwards (b. 1943)
Sydney 2004, @ Ricordì&Co, London
The composer writes: 'Southern Cross Chants is a further exploration of the astronomical text provided by Fred
Watson for my choral Fourth Symphony, Star Chant (2001). lt consists of a series of modules, each of which may be
expanded, contracted, detached for separate performance or assembled in various different ways within a large,
flexible structure.
The text celebrates stars and constellations of the southern skies by juxtaposing their classica|, scientifìc and
Aboriginal names. The first module, for example, pairs the words for the constellation Hydra with Unwala; Hydra being
the water-snake of the ancient Greek legend, whose head is Unwala the Crab to the people of Groote Eylandt in the
Gulf of Carpentaria. The work thus attempts a musical fusion of art and science whilst making a gesture of conciliation
with our indigenous cultures - possibly the world's first astronomers.' Southern Cross Chants was commissioned
especially for The Song Company by the lan Potter Foundation.

Hydra: Unwala. Spica: Gurie.

Sirius: Warepil. Fomalhaut Gani.

(Fred Watson)


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