The Lyre Bird Motet has been performed by the astonishing BBC Singers (friends of mine- all of them!), many times. Technically it’s one of the easiest pieces of mine written for professional chamber choir (in this case 24 voices satb). At least one European Choir has had trouble realising this piece and yet here we see and hear a group of young singers- all under the age of 21 singing at the gateway of a professional career. I wasn’t able to be in Melbourne for the rehearsals or the concert, but I’m told they took to it like a proverbial duck to water or should that be a Lyre Bird to a Victorian forest display-mound!!!?
I’ve always wondered if DH Lawrence’s words-of-warning in his poem ‘Snake’ (written in Australia by the way)- ‘and ah, those voices of our accursed education’ hold sway for our development from children to adults. Is it really possible that young and vibrant vocal stunners like these might become blighted or restricted by experience? It might possibly have been true in the 1920s when Lawrence was writing those words, but I’m pretty confident that a performance like this gives notice that things have changed. By the way, I heard the Lyre Birds that feature at the end of the motet (in the voices of 3 sopranos) less than 80 miles from this performance in Melbourne, namely the King Valley in Victoria Australia!