Halcyon Days (2022)
for TTBB choir | 3:30
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. This version for TTBB unaccompanied choir is suitable for any winter concert. Halcyon Days was first commissioned by VOCES8 for their LIVE From London festival in 2020, and the TTBB arrangement was commissioned by Chor Leoni in 2022.
"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
- 19 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- 17 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- 16 Dec, 2022: Chor Leoni at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada