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Halcyon Days (2020)

for SATB choir | 00:03:30

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Jacqueline Goldfinger

Melissa Dunphy is an original and exciting composer living in the USA, though of Australian background. Her piece Halcyon Days, written to a new text from her regular collaborator poet Jacqueline Goldfinger, creates a period of calm during winter storms where we reflect on what we have lost but rise up to face the new year with joy and grace. Written for SATB unaccompanied choir this piece is suitable for any winter concert. Halcyon Days was commissioned by VOCES8 for their LIVE From London festival in 2020.

"One work I hear them record, Halcyon Days by Melissa Dunphy, has particular poignancy. The final piece sung at the end of an academic year, it was also the first sung on returning from Covid, and Lapwood asks the singers to remember what it felt like to be together again after the challenges of the pandemic. It works." [Gramophone]

"Melissa Dunphy’s Halcyon Days is a Rutter-esque ditty: a lovely ensemble narrative in which VOCES8 affectionately shaped the phrases and pointed the text; counterpoint and dialogue were counterposed with homophony, and the result was a beautifully concordant and consoling prayer." [Opera Today]

"[Dunphy's] Halcyon Days (text Jacqueline Goldfinger) is a radiant meditation of the sacred, the familiarity of ‘well-worn prayers’ and a rising up towards a dawn of joy and peace." [Seen and Heard International]


Sacred days draw near, traditions hallowed and wan,
Well-worn prayers embrace their heirs when love returns as embers.
Dreams delayed, hopes frayed in the blue nights of winter,
Daybreak dreams of reunions lost.
Rise up, tattered and torn! Rise up, barren and reborn!
Go forth in peace, bring joy to the dawn,
and grace, turn your face upon us.

—Jacqueline Goldfinger, 2020


Performances

  • 19 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 18 Dec, 2022: Musica Intima at West Vancouver United Church, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 17 Dec, 2022: Musica Intima at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 17 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 16 Dec, 2022: PhilHarmonia at German Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • 16 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 11 Dec, 2022: Chorus Pro Musica at Old South Church, Boston, MA
  • 10 Dec, 2022: Musica Intima at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Langley, BC, Canada
  • 10 Dec, 2022: Vox Venti at St. Chrysostom's Episcopal Church, Chicago, IL
  • 09 Dec, 2022: Chorus Pro Musica at Old South Church, Boston, MA
  • 04 Dec, 2022: Yale Choir at Dwight Hall at Yale, New Haven, CT
  • 04 Dec, 2022: Voices of Concinnity at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Hebron, CT
  • 03 Dec, 2022: Penn Chorale at St. Mary's Church, Hamilton Village, Philadelphia, PA
  • 03 Dec, 2022: Voices of Concinnity at Trinity Episcopal Church, Hartford, CT
  • 03 Dec, 2022: Voices of Concinnity at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum, Hartford, CT
  • 01 Dec, 2022: Southern Oregon University Chamber Choir at Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, Ashland, OR
  • 29 Nov, 2022: San Jacinto College Choir at Jan Corbin Recital Hall, San Jacinto College Central, Monte Blue Music Building, Pasadena, TX
  • 19 Jun, 2022: Pembroke College Chapel Choir at Pembroke College, Cambridge, UK
  • 02 May, 2022: Rutgers University Choir at Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
  • 24 Apr, 2022: San Diego Opera & La Jolla Playhouse at Without Walls Festival, San Diego, CA
  • 23 Apr, 2022: San Diego Opera & La Jolla Playhouse at Without Walls Festival, San Diego, CA
  • 19 Mar, 2022: Vocalis Consort at Calvary Chapel, New Brunswick, NJ
  • 06 Mar, 2022: Bay Choral Guild at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA
  • 05 Mar, 2022: Bay Choral Guild at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA
  • 04 Mar, 2022: Bay Choral Guild at Campbell United Methodist Church, Campbell, CA
  • 18 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 17 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Sacred Heart Church, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 12 Dec, 2021: Cleveland Chamber Choir at Christ Church Episcopal, Hudson, OH
  • 12 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11 Dec, 2021: Young New Yorkers Chorus at St. Mary the Virgin Church, New York, NY
  • 11 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at St. Kilian Church, Cranberry Township, PA
  • 11 Dec, 2021: Cleveland Chamber Choir at Old Stone Church, Cleveland, OH
  • 10 Dec, 2021: The Longwood Chorus at All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA
  • 10 Dec, 2021: Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 05 Dec, 2021: Voices of Concinnity at St. Peter's Church, Hebron, CT
  • 05 Dec, 2021: UMKC Conservatory Singers at Visitation Catholic Church, Kansas City, MO
  • 04 Dec, 2021: Voices of Concinnity at St. Ann's Church, Old Lyme, CT
  • 04 Dec, 2021: UMKC Conservatory Singers at Visitation Catholic Church, Kansas City, MO
  • 20 Nov, 2021: Nazareth Chamber Singers at Linehan Chapel, Nazareth College of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • 17 Oct, 2021: Mansfield University Chamber Singers at Steadman Theatre, Mansfield, PA
  • 16 Oct, 2021: Chicago Chamber Choir at St. Mary of the Lake, Chicago, IL
  • 23 Jun, 2021: St Martin’s Voices and Anna Lapwood at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, UK
  • 21 Jun, 2021: BBC Singers (cond. Nicholas Chalmers) at Nevill Holt Opera June Festival, UK
  • 05 Dec, 2020: VOCES8 at LIVE from London