One of Australia’s most distinguished composers, Anne Boyd celebrates her 75th birthday in 2021. Much of her rich and varied output is spiritual and meditative in nature and draws heavily on East-Asian musical traditions, especially those of Japan and Indonesia.
Boyd is probably best-known for her 1975 choral work As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams for twelve or more singers divided into three groups. This atmospheric 11-minute work now boasts five commercial recordings from ensembles including Kammerchor Stuttgart and Arts Nova Copenhagen conducted by Paul Hiller. Reviewing the latter disc in 2012, Gramophone Magazine praised the work’s ‘rapt sostenuto’ calling it ‘almost endlessly sustained, immaculacy imagined…’.
In this piece for wordless a cappella chorus, Boyd looked to what she describes as “the mixture of great sorrow with great beauty” of gagaku (medieval Japanese court music) to create atmospheric vocal effects. Not only that; she allowed these textures to soak into her musical conception of the Australian landscape. “The stark ritualistic quality of this music belonged to my childhood experience of the outback landscape around Longreach. Out there, meditation is a natural state of mind.”
For details of all Boyd works published by Faber Music – from intimate chamber works to her 1978 opera The Little Mermaid – please click here. Boyd’s recent music is published by University of York Music Press.