List of Compositions

Title

Instrumentation

Year

Duration

Behold!

Six Voices

2016

12′

Ektenia

SATB

2016

3′

terra nullius

Solo Flute

2015

3′

for Thee, I shall search

Piano Quintet

2015

5′

Song of Symeon

SATB

2015

5’30

Eliksiir

Chamber Orchestra

2014

3’45

Troparion

Symphony Orchestra

2014

10’20

Chant

SA Chorus

2014

1’45

The Sseucle

Children’s Chorus, Violin, French Horn, Piano

2014

10’23

seedling

String Quartet

2014

4’25

Hymn to the Holy Archangel Michael

SATB

2013

2’31

O Dawn of the mystical day

SATB + Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass Soloists

2014

4’45

A Byzantine Carol

Children’s Voices, SATB + Chamber Orchestra

2013

4’38

Metánoia

Chamber Orchestra

2013

10’34

Paráklisi

Bassoon, 2 Guitars, 2 Sopranos, 1 Baritone

2013

4’27

Incense

SATB + Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass Soloists

2012

20’04

Stasis

Marimba, Acoustic Guitar, Baroque Violin

2012

3’47

Encantar

String Quartet

2012

5’

Antithesis

Chamber Orchestra

2012

10’14

The Bizarre Experience of Robert Nance (score)

Electroacoustic

2012

9’02

The Unbinding

Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Soprano, Piano, Violin, Viola, Contrabass

2012

3’10

The Isle of the Bless’d

SSAA Choir

2012

4’25

On the Crest of a Dream

Symphony Orchestra

2011

9’45

Seeking Eurydice

Soprano, Clarinet, Cello

2011

4’34

Snowflake

Piano

2011

2’46

Promise (score)

Cello, Piano

2011

8’37

With a Smile (film track)

Film Orchestra

2011

1’18

True Love Saves the Day (film track)

Film Orchestra

2011

1’02

Primo Amore Orchestration (film track)

Orchestra

2011

3’50

Infinity

Electroacoustic

2011

8’

Mukti

Vocal Quartet

2010

5’12

Ouzo

Chamber Orchestra

2010

3’03

George

Piano Quartet

2010

3’32

The Girl with the Buttons

Piano

2010

2’32

Parthene Mitir

SSAA Chamber Choir

2009

3’18

Odyssey

Descant Recorder, Vibraphone, String Quartet

2009

3’02

Paschaleino

Flute, Clarinet, Hand Percussion, String Trio

2009

2’17

Song of Naida

Soprano, Mallet Percussion, Piano, String Quartet

2009

2’16

TransForm

Clarinet, Piano, Cello

2008

2’

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,

according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen

Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared in

the presence of all peoples, a light for

revelation to the Gentiles, and or

glory to Thy people Israel.

“Most people identify themselves with their thoughts. When thoughts appear, they assume that these thoughts are them, that the sum total of their thoughts, memories and corresponding feelings make up the sum total of their personalities. But thoughts, as Lao Tzu realised, are only fragments which flit through the mind. Of themselves they have no reality.

Getting wrapped up in their thoughts, people become the victims of compulsive thinking: habitual thought-patterns which attach themselves to certain feelings. Finding their very identity in these patterns, they forget who they really are, that they are immortal spirits. Having lost sight of the one, immortal human nature which is common to all, they become trapped in their individuality and in the desires of their false identity.”

p. 233 Christ The Eternal Tao (2004)

Hieromonk Damascene

The Eastern Christian Orthodox ‘troparion’ is a short hymn comprised of one stanza. Thus, my piece is entitled Troparion as its characteristic harmonies are inspired by two modal settings of a Greek Orthodox ‘troparion’ dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Axion Estin – or It Is Truly Meet. In Byzantine terminology, the two modal settings Troparion is influenced by are the plagal 1st and plagal 2nd tones, which are most akin to the Western Hypodorian and Hypophrygian modes respectively.

Troparion must also be viewed in the context of Hieromonk Damascene’s book, Christ the Eternal Tao (2004), which examines the relationship between particular ideas of Lao Tzu and the words of Christ. The second section of the book is compiled of newly composed poetry, which provides insight grounded in the Tao Te Ching and Christian Orthodoxy as practised in contemporary China. Each movement in Troparion embodies segments of the poetry fragment depicted below:

Text

Beneath the brittle surface,

The vain, self-interested, clinging love,

The maddening longing,

Which only obscures what lies below,

There is a silently flowing river:

A river of compassion, bowels of mercy,

A feeling of the other’s pain,

Flowing into a vast, vast ocean of sorrow.

It is the sorrow of a great funeral:

The death of sensual self-love.

Although it is a sorrow,

One enters it willingly, with joy,

For there is such tenderness in its pain.

And at last, in this sorrow,

There is perfect freedom.

‘The Sseucle’ song cycle was commissioned by the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus in conjunction with the Espresso Kids Choir in 2014, and is made up of a trilogy of compositions written for children’s chorus, violin, French horn, and piano, entitled: ‘The Aquarium in the Picnic Basket’, ‘The Secret in the Box’, and ‘The Quest in the Answer’. The text I have written and used in The Sseucle is inspired by that used in writings by American writer, poet, and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel – or, the illustrious Dr. Seuss – as well as text written by the children in the Espresso Kids Choir, particularly Sofia Robinson and Elina de Rosnay. As the song cycle progresses, the text develops layers of underlying existential meaning, allowing for various levels of maturity and depth in the choristers, whilst the demanding, varied, and unique vocal timbres, dynamics, and parts organisation create the opportunity for young choristers to experience and appreciate new musical styles. Each movement of the cycle is centred around a D tonality – be it major, minor or modal – making it very conducive to children’s voices, and the importance of text allows the choristers to cultivate their skills of precision in text annunciation.

‘The Aquarium in the Picnic Basket’: Pedagogically, the piece in binary form teaches young choristers to combine four-part rhythmic ostinatos that also involve physical hand movements with spoken word and melodic phrases until the second section of the piece, which introduces elements of two-part canon and text dovetailing, producing the illusion of a single vocal part. This movement in the song cycle particularly explores music within a context of childlike humour and uses a playful quotation of the Hoagy Carmichael Heart and Soul chord progression. Activities involving these elements have been specifically focused on during weekly rehearsal sessions with the Espresso Kids Choir.

‘The Secret in the Box’: This movement particularly nurtures the aural and sight-singing skills of note-pitching and harmonising for young choristers, as well as the choral skill of voice blending. Challenging drop-in harmonies are present through the work and a strong level of mental part-hearing is required – especially in sections where the choir is divided into six choral parts. The Secret in the Box is an exploration of the imagination, which hints at the reasons why escapism from reality may appear so tempting.

‘The Quest in the Answer’ follows a consecutive verse structure, and its highly distinctive and unpredictable harmonic shifts demand a high level of musicianship. Introducing soloists to the intricate tapestry of choral textures, vocal timbre and control are fostered within a musical environment that encourages and stimulates confidence and individuality within each chorister – due to the piano accompaniment being replaced by the violin and French horn. Note-pitching again is a key aspect of the movement, however new rhythmic fragments are introduced to the song cycle, which mirror a child’s free-moving, innocent contemplation in a world full of conflicting and contrasting opinions and values.

Text

‘The Aquarium in the Picnic Basket’

One trout, two trout, green trout, blue trout.

And chips!

Red herring.

Smelly jellyfish breath.

When beadles bray these riddles in a cradle with their ladles and the cradle’s on a candle and the candle’s wearing sandals…they call this a model coddle tweedle candle beadle sandal cradle ladle riddle.

‘The Secret in the Box’

Verse 1:

Climb into your secret box,

The box with the balloon.

Pull the strings and make them tight,

Then you’ll begin to move.

Brush your nails on red-tiled roofs,

Wave at passers by.

Drink the clouds and taste the sky.

Float into the blue.

Bridge:

Where fires go out and floods disappear,

Where earthquakes stop trembling and we forget fear.

Chorus:

All the wonderful places you’ll go!

Oh, the wonderful places to go!

Go by air balloon or boat.

Take your brain and imagination.

Verse 2:

Talk to, touch the, heal the birds,

See their colours bright.

Sit among broccoli treetops tall,

Converse with them till night.

Steal the secrets of the wind,

Embrace the light of the moon.

Ponder on the edge of midnight,

An eternity found by few.

Coda:

Why are my questions so complicated,

And why are their answers so simple?

I’ll just take my time, there’s no need to rush.

Simply take my thread and my thimble.

‘The Quest in the Answer’

What does it mean to be beautiful?

What does it mean to have beauty?

Is it this face or that; this brain or that hat?

I really don’t know what to do.

The answer is simple, the answer is clear,

But you won’t find it there and you’ll neither find it here.

Just look within yourself, then look to the sky,

As there the answer always shall lie.

What is a person truly, truly?

What makes a person a person?

A person’s a person with mind, heart, and soul,

And body, to really be certain.

But am I too, serious, shy, or small

To really be considered a person at all?

My dear, regardless of disposition,

A person’s a person whether small or tall.

A name is a name but who am I?

I hate being wrong; please help me be right.

You are who you were created to be.

There’s no wrong or right, so set yourself free.

But am I too weird or diff’rent, at best?

Perhaps I should be an ‘it’ instead.

No benchmark, no normal, no measurement sheet spread.

Is someone out there; someone just like me

Who’s better than me or just ‘me’-er than me?

Right now you are you, that will always be true.

No-one even comes close to being you-er than you.

Do I exist or is this a dream?

Is reality real or not what it seems?

If you exist, exist.

If you don’t, do not.

But whether you’re real, pretend, or not,

You will be you no matter what.

“Human life is nothing more than a movement to, or away from, God. It is a journey, a progression, which God alone knows…when the Spirit comes and dwells within us, we arrive at the end of time, the limit of “now,” which is a particle of time that in a sense is non-existent, because as soon as you utter it, as soon as you become aware of it, it vanishes.”

“Love finds its perfection, not in this life, but in the next, and this means that perfect love should always be a perfect dissatisfaction. “To love” means to find no final satisfaction in the things of the world, and thus it expresses both our movement toward, and the distance which still remains, between us and God. The extent of our love, then, can be measured by the duration of our weeping. It can be measured to the extent by which we’ve been reduced to nothing in the infinity of God, and by our attempts to make God our own and to comprehend Him. And this measure can be grasped, not by an intellectual calculation, but only through the experience of suffering and love.

pp. 132-4 The Way of the Spirit (2009)

Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra

Inspired by Arvo Pärt’s Trisagion for Orchestra (1992/rev. 1994), I have extensively drawn upon natural and artificial harmonics, as well as several other expressions of timbre to give a refined yet raw quality to seedling. Specific thought has been given to the instrumental registers. Each instrument has been allocated, albeit not rigidly, a high, low, or medium register in relation to the individual ranges of the violin, viola, and violoncello, which alternate at each section of the piece. A sense of non-linearity and meditative continuity is created by the sustained pitches and dovetailing, as well as through the avoidance of a goal-oriented harmonic structure.

The title comes from the idea of generative rhythm in atonal music whereby an extended rhythm grows from a small rhythmical non-retrogradable cell or seed, which is then expanded upon. What may follow is a recursive progression, which is when a seed generates a longer segment, and then follows a process of the longer segment becoming the seed and generating an even longer pattern. I have taken this idea and applied it to the intervallic and melodic structure of seedling. Each of the three sections begins with drone-like open chords, which move on to small and then wider melodic intervals until a longer melody is heard. The melody increases in length at each section, and is loosely based upon the “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” chanted before the Greek Orthodox Hymn of St. Kassiani, which is chanted during Holy Week – the lead-up to Easter. I have purposely used this semi-improvisatory introductory chant rather than the hymn itself in order to symbolise the yearning for yet distance between us and the incomprehensible numinous.

Text

Rejoice, primordial star of the world!

Rejoice, candle of truth and righteousness brightly gleaming!

Rejoice, first receiver of the rays of the uncreated light among the choirs of angels!

Rejoice, captain of Angels and Archangels!

Rejoice, thou in whom the glory of the Maker’s right hand shineth most of all!

Rejoice, O Michael, great supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

You can expect a few different reactions when you tell people you’re composing Christmas music – one being genuine interest, another incredulous, near-ridiculing laughter, and then the awestruck response of how to even begin such a task. As soon as you mention that you’ll be writing a carol specifically, it immediately begs the question – “but how are you going to make it different from the several traditional, centuries-old carols already in existence?”

So here you are faced with the challenging and exciting task of writing a piece of music that embodies ‘Christmas’, has a modern feel, and sounds like your own unique compositional voice, which all assist in making your carol stand out from the numerous other examples out there in the big, wide world. In the early stages, you’ve really got to figure what the essence of Christmas really means to you – whether it’s on a personal, philosophical and/or theological level – or what aspect/s of Christmas you wish to explore and portray. Looking back at traditional carols, as well as influences from my own Greek Orthodox heritage, I decided to follow the spiritual message behind Christmas. Both verses of A Byzantine Carol paint the scene of the Nativity, whilst the chorus focuses on the Virgin Mary (or Theotokos).

Musically speaking, A Byzantine Carol is all about the fusion of Western, Eastern European and Byzantine qualities. Byzantine drones and Western harmonies accompany each other throughout the piece. The verses are slightly more Western in harmony and are juxtaposed with Eastern European additive rhythms (assisted by the driving darbuka beat), as opposed to the slow, melismatic chorus, which has a noticeably Byzantine flavour and stillness. A Byzantine Carol is inspired by and draws upon an Arabic Orthodox chant, and all lyrics are taken from various Christmas hymns used in the Christian Orthodox Church. Finally, A Byzantine Carol is characterised by contrasting instrumental and choral combinations, and virtuosic, ornamental melodic lines in the instrumental parts at various stages.

Text

Today Christ is born in Bethlehem of the Virgin.

Today He who is without a beginning begins,

And the Word is made flesh.

The powers of Heaven rejoice,

The earth and her people are jubilant;

The Wise Men bring gifts to the Lord,

The shepherds marvel at the One who is born;

Magnify, O my soul, the Virgin Most Pure,

The God-Bearer, who is more honourable

And more glorious than the heavenly hosts.

What shall we present unto Thee, O Christ,

For Thy coming to earth for us men?

Each of Thy creatures brings Thee a thank-offering:

The angels – singing; the heavens – a star;

The Wise Men – treasures; the shepherds devotion;

The earth – a cave; the desert – a manger;

But we offer Thee the Virgin-Mother. O Eternal God, have mercy upon us.

Glory to God in the Highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men.

Our choices are what define us, whether they are made in the early, final or intermediate stages of our lives. Metánoia – the Greek term for ‘repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man’ – draws upon and is inspired by the Christian Orthodox concept of repentance. It combines elements of painful lamentation with the idea of a refashioning of one’s inner self; a grounded and humble self-knowledge, which leads to firmer hopes, deeper love, wisdom, prayer and grace. What follows is a mindfulness of death and seeking of freedom; a liberation from fear, which allows for the development of a sensitivity in which the intellect dwells within the heart. Metánoia ends by touching on an experience of the Divine – a pure, tranquil existence of truth.

A tapestry of textures and gradual introduction of melodic intervals, a contemplative tempo, ebb and flow of volume levels, as well as a recurring bell-like motif define the musical language of Metánoia. The Greek Orthodox Hristos Anesti (‘Christ is Risen’) tune is heard in its entirety at the finale of Metánoia, with melodic and harmonic snippets present throughout the piece.  Finally and, quite possibly, most importantly, the use of silence is crucial in understanding both the spirit of Metánoia and the Orthodox notion of repentance.

Inspired by the KONY 2012 campaign, Antithesis aims to illustrate or ‘auralise’ the intertwining nature of the innate good and evil evident in all humanity, inviting listeners to question their own sense of morality, judgement and discernment. More importantly, it depicts the personal yearning of one’s soul for God, purpose and/or a higher power, happening on both conscious and subconscious levels.

Inspired by Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, all melodic and intervallic material is based on one central motif – a Kyrie Eleison chant from the Eastern European Orthodox tradition. It has a continuously evolving structure, which transforms material heard before into new and exciting musical contexts. Furthermore, instrumental parts become more divided as Antithesis continues, as seen most clearly in the flute parts, which begin with all three in unison until divisions occur approximately midway through the piece, to indicate the growing complexity of the human psyche. Through stepwise motion, steady tempi, intricate activity in the dynamics, delicate textures, open chords and simple harmonies, which slowly transform into more complex clusters as the piece progresses, Antithesis aims to project a sense of deep tranquillity and contemplation, as we embrace the interlocked divine and human natures of our souls.

The concept behind Infinity is the ‘Religion of Technology’ or, as I have coined it, spiritualis technologia. On the one hand, it describes the idea of technology in its various forms having a unified soul and reaching out to some sort of deity or ‘God’, yet on the other hand it refers to how technology has replaced religion; that modern society, the world – in short, life – has turned to the worship of technology and machines. My piece has been named Infinity for a number of reasons: that as long as the human race survives, questions concerning existentialism, truth, ‘God’ and religion will continue; that the thirst for knowledge and understanding is powerful and often never-ending; and finally, Infinity dares to pose the question of whether the barrier of identity between humans and machines shall always be so prominent.

To demonstrate this underlying concept, I chose recording samples that would clearly reflect both humans and machines – cars on a busy road, a clapping game, a restaurant’s hustle and bustle, as well as the recital of a Christian Orthodox prayer known as the Jesus Prayer, containing the words, “Kyrie Isou Hriste, eleison me” (Greek) or “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” I have also incorporated key events in the history of music technology by imitating the telephone, phonograph, radio and typewriter through electronic manipulation of my samples. Infinity explores the similarities and differences between pure sounds and the way they can be transformed to create new atmospheres, textures, tone colours and characters. A constant medium-pitched rattle effect serves as a drone for the entire duration of the piece, and the ‘prayer’ sample has been looped in such a way that it is steadily ‘denormalized’ so that by the end of the piece, it sounds just as mechanical and warped as the machines themselves (illustrated by the electronically-altered samples). This range of techniques has been utilised to also depict various technology media, different groups of people and the many types of quests for truth or, should I say, ‘Truth’. Moreover, it is important to note the sound journey of how my samples become slowly more normalised towards Infinity’s climax, symbolizing both the human voice/soul, as well as that of technology.

Text

Parthene Mitir = O Virgin Mother

Agni Parthene = O Virgin Pure

Limon tis sotirias = The harbor of salvation

To xilon tis zois = O tree of life

Se iketevome despina = We beseech you Queen

Steile eirini = Send peace

Antilavoo ke rise mas = Assist and deliver us

Ke klironomon deixon me zois tis eonioo = And make me an inheritor of blessed life Eternal