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Cries Project


The soundscapes of cities have been an historic drawcard for composers. Cries of London by Orlando Gibbons and Cris de Paris by Clement Janequin are early examples of compositions inspired by the aural experience of living in built-up areas.

Australia's premiere songsters The Song Company and their (then) director Roland Peelman sought, with the support of the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival, the New Zealand String Quartet and Ying String Quartet and the financial backing of Creative New Zealand, to extend this tradition into modern times by commissioning new cries from Jack Body , Eve de Castro-Robinson , Chris Watson and Louise Webster . These new cries were premiered at the finale concert of the Festival at Nelson Cathedral on 7 February 2015.

Three of the composers gathered to present a forum about the Cries project hosted by Elizabeth Kerr:





Eve de Castro-Robinson 's Cries of Auckland traces the composer's aural experience of central Auckland streets via the cries of newspaper vendors and the protestations of demonstrators opposing the Springbok tour and the TPPA. Cries include "Bullshit, bullshit!" and "1 2 3 4, we don’t want your racist tour!"

Roland Peelman's The Song Company is joined onstage by the Ying String Quartet in this Adam Chamber Music Festival premiere. 

JACK BODY: Cries from the Border


In Jack Body 's Cries from the Border , the composer subverts the commission brief by taking a tack more personal than geographical. Facing as he was at the time a "crossing over", Jack tells the story of the philosopher Walter Benjamin who took his own life at the Spanish-French border when it became clear he would be delivered back into the hands of the Nazis.

The Song Company is joined by Jack's friends and long time collaborators, the New Zealand String Quartet.

LOUISE WEBSTER: Cries of Kathmandu


The everyday jostling of beliefs, religions and spirituality is the backdrop to Louise Webster 's Cries of Kathmandu . Louise spent time as a young person in the Nepalese capital doing medical work, soaking up the Hindu/Buddhist culture and experiencing the grinding poverty.

Cries of Kathmandu is performed by Roland Peelman's The Song Company and the New Zealand String Quartet.

CHRIS WATSON: Some Cries of Wellington


Chris Watson 's Some Cries of Wellington captures the composer's daily commute in to Wellington from the northern suburbs during the buildup to the 2014 General Election, when the so-called dirty politics scandal was coming to public attention. The text tells of the commute, but also quotes from Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics and from a Guyon Espiner/John Key interview on Morning Report.

Chris's Cry uses the forces of The Song Company, the New Zealand String Quartet and the Ying String Quartet.