A Sympathy With Sounds was composed in 1988 to celebrate the centenary of a certain choral society, to the specifications of the conductor. When the work was completed, both the composition of the choir and the conductor had changed and it was never performed by that society. The work is suitable for an SATB choir of moderate strength and ability, provided there are sufficient singers to cope with the ocasional divisions.
“A Sympathy with Sounds… and some lovely sounds there are too!” – Brian Kay
The music of ‘A West Irish Ballad’ follows the course of an anonymous Irish poem, and is influenced by Irish traditional music. Much of the musical imagery comes from the poetry, from the snipe and the ‘lonely bird in the woods’, to the developing ostinato reminiscent of church bells, and to the broader feeling of the landscape as I imagine it, and the deep emotion of Irish laments and love songs. ‘A West Irish Ballad’ was written for the Sydney Chamber Choir.
This work was commissioned by The Southern Consort of Voices in 1991, with funding from Creative NZ. It sets three NZ poems to music, with a fourth song being wordless: Timepiece to a poem by Cilla McQueen; Before the Fall to a poem by Rachel McAlpine; I lie, I watch the ceiling (wordless); and We could just disappear to a poem by Sam Hunt.
In 2001 Auckland choir Viva Voce recorded this work on their CD entitled Snapshots – A Cappella Choral Favourites. Conductor John Rosser writes of the work – “Anthony has a wonderful knack of writing for voice. Timepiece portrays a woman struggling to break free of suburban neurosis and the tyranny of time. Before the Fall alludes to lost childhood innocence, and We Could just Disappear depicts the future as an endless tunnel of the mind.”