Andrew Ford, photo  Jim Rolon 2005
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There was a man lived in the moon - a Victorian drawing with characters from children's rhymes

Learning to Howl - CD cover with a girl in a field of poppies

Latest all-Ford albums

New album for children (and their parents & grandparents)

November 2015. Andrew Ford's new album, There Was a Man Lived in the Moon is released on 13 November by ABC Classics. It comprises 29 songs, mostly traditional nursery rhymes, arranged for a variety of instruments. Jane Sheldon and Teddy Tahu Rhodes, two of Australia's finest classical singers, share the songs between them, while the players are more usually to be found among the ranks of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

In addition to the nursery rhymes, there are several original songs, including Little Star (a setting of Jane Taylor's 18th-century poem, 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star', and three songs to poems by Edward Lear, collectively known as Nonsense, specially written for the project and for Teddy Tahu Rhodes. The disc is now available for preorder online - you'll find it in shops from 13 November.

> Preorder There Was a Man Lived in the Moon (ABC Shop)

Learning to Howl (ABC Classics)

In 2013, ABC Classics released a recording of Andrew Ford's double award-winning song cycle, Learning to Howl, sung by the soprano Jane Sheldon. The piece sets words by Lorrie Moore, Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte, Queen Elizabeth I, Ann Timony Jenkin and Elizabeth Smart (among others) and represents a woman's life from childhood to old age.

The CD also includes the 'single' version of a song from the cycle, the Rossetti setting 'The Birthday of My Life', together with Snatches of Old Lauds, for bass clarinet and drone, and Sounds and sweet airs, for flute and clarinet. The other major work on the disc is the Prix Italia runner-up Elegy in a Country Graveyard, recently featured in Tony Williams and Anna Hewgill's film, A Place Called Robertson.

> Buy the CD from ABC Shop

 

The Waltz Book
- 60 one-minute waltzes by Andrew Ford

Ian Munro, piano
Tall Poppies TP 209


> Buy the CD from the Australian Music Centre (individual tracks also available as MP3s) or the Buywell online CD store

'It is the large-scale structure that Ford is able to generate that makes The Waltz Book impressive. Often the same musical character will flow on between individual pieces: two or three may be directly linked in mood or character, and segue connections ensure a continuity that avoids any stop-start junctures. Additionally, seven "invocations" sharing a unifying, atonally angular theme are scattered through the collection to help bind it neatly together.

Waltz Book CD cover'This is the first time the set has been recorded. Munro is poetic in his approach and exercises beautiful control in his pliant moulding of phrase. He successfully unlocks the secrets of each piece, showing in particular a superb control of silence, which is integral to Ford's writing. All come in remarkably close to the minute mark, typically just a few seconds either side. Individually these are superb little pieces, and together they form a Pandora's box of delights. The Waltz Book is to be counted amongst Ford's finest writing.'

Graham Strahle, Music Forum

'What began as a commission from pianist Ian Munro for a large scale piano work ended up as a series of 60 waltzes, each lasting only a minute. Andrew Ford's Waltz Book is a charming and surprisingly eclectic collection of miniatures; quirky, moody, enchanting and full of vitality, they provide a fascinating insight into Ford's extraordinarily wide-ranging musical palette. Central to the variety within this collection is the extreme contrast between the simpler, melodically driven, often folksy waltzes and the grittier, modernist representations of the form. Ford's craftsmanship is impressively consistent across this broad canvas of musical styles and while the pieces are all in triple time (of course) this is not always apparent to the listener. The waltzes are grouped in such a way as to bring a sense of internal organization to the set. In some cases, several waltzes based on the same material give the effect of a miniature set of variations within the whole. In this way, listening to a shorter selection can also be a satisfying experience, although the material works extremely well when heard in its entirety. Munro is a flawless interpreter, his playing full of imaginative colour and supple elegance. Ford is, of course, a well-known broadcaster and writer and his program notes are also very entertaining. A second CD includes an interview with the composer as well as PDFs of 10 of the simpler waltzes, giving the opportunity to print and play some of this delightful music.'

Mark Coughian, The Australian

'Munro relishes the craftsman's grinding, polishing skill that gave him the unusual, diverse product that has been performed by pianists the world over. With strong, clear technique, Munro's flair brings individual insights to his performance.'

Patrica Kelly, Brisbane Courier Mail

'An engaging and surprisingly rich disc.'

Julian Day, Limelight

 

 

Night and Dreams: the death of Sigmund Freud

Gerald English, tenor
Margaret Morgan, libretto

Decca Eloquence 480 0461

> Buy the CD from the Buywell online CD store

'Night and Dreams is true music theatre - sung and spoken texts are essentially of equal importance, and combined with evocative and often confronting recorded sounds they created a powerful and eerie atmosphere...'

Tristram Cary, The Australian

'A perfect little gem of chamber opera.... This work is stunningly intelligent, intensely moving, and a tribute to one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. It is a perfect vehicle for the talents of Gerald English, now in his 75th year, but still singing with a characteristic intensity of feeling and subtly nuanced interpretation of both the music and the dramatic material.'

Helen Thomson, The Age

   

IcarusCover of Icarus CD with a painting by Pat Cale (2001)

Hymn to the Sun; Like Icarus ascending; Chamber Concerto No 3: In constant flight; Parabola; Icarus drowning

Rohan Smith (violin); Annette Tesoriero, Richard Moore (voices); Terra Australis incognita; Kowmung Festival Ensemble; Andrew Ford (conductor).

Tall Poppies TP150 CD

> Buy the CD from the Australian Music Centre - individual works also available as MP3 files

"Icarus drowning , most strikingly of all, takes Brueghel's painting The Fall of Icarus as a starting point (in which all that can be seen of him are his two feet disappearing into the water) and in music of extreme slowness and growing intensity charts his descent through the water, recalling his ascent and flight as he does so. the poetic coda, with distant gongs and bells, was suggested by the site of first performance . . . and sounds both final -- it refers back to the opening of the violin piece -- and like a tolling lament. It is the most impressive piece in the cycle. "

Michael Oliver, The Gramophone

 

 
   
Cover of Harbour CD a with painting by Peter Kingston titled The Last Ferries (1998)

Harbour

A Martian Sends a Postcard Home; Clarion (alto sax version); Epithalamium; Harbour; Composition in Blue, Grey and Pink; Dancing With Smoke; A Salt Girl; Female Nude; And Now; Five Cabaret Songs

Gerald English, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Hector MacDonald, Stephanie McCallum, Marshall McGuire, Ian Munro, James Nightingale, Kathleen Gallagher, Daryl Pratt
et al.

Tall Poppies TP128 CD

> Buy the CD from the Australian Music Centre - individual works also available as MP3s

 

"Harbour, a Tall Poppies CD of pieces by Andrew Ford, one-time faculty member at the University of Wollongong, again proves that there is much worthy music being produced Down Under.

Despite the predominance of pieces for tenor voice, no hint of monotony encroaches upon this splendid release. Ford shows a striking variety of approach in his vocal compositions, ranging from the special-effects laden flair of A Martian Sends a Postcard Home to the folksy unpretentiousness of Epithalamium, the crystalline conciseness of A Salt Girl, the unalloyed triadic warmth of And Now, and the often humorous, sometimes touching ennui of Five Cabaret Songs. The title selection, a sizable and ambitious cycle for singer and string orchestra, is perhaps the most impressive of all. Ensemble writing, obliquely influenced by entities such as Lutoslawski’s Trauermusik, perfectly combines dramatic flair and experimental inventiveness. And as in all these works, Ford composes imaginatively for the vocalist, combining fine text setting with an unerring ear for good tenor sound regardless of the register or effect employed.

The non-vocal selections, while brief, are just as enjoyable. Originally written for solo alto clarinet, Clarion shows no lessening of effectiveness in its alto saxophone version. The work states two ideas (one static and tritone based, the other fast and nervous) then cleverly varies and integrates them. Composition in Blue, Grey, and Pink, despite its restrictive percussion scoring and dynamic range, contains nary a dull moment, contrasting and superimposing rhythmic layers in ways that would fascinate an African drummer. The amplified alto flute entity Female Nude, replete with breathy exchanges of sung and played pitches, palpably swoons with sensuous ardor. And all exhibit unusual, yet effective solutions to delineating larger formal concerns.

Performances are uniformly splendid. Tenor Gerald English is the star here and deservedly so, possessing both a ringing, highly flexible voice that sounds great in every register and clean, crisp diction. James Nightingale (saxophone), Kathleen Gallagher (alto flute), Marshall McGuire (harp), Daryl Pratt (congas), Hector McDonald (horn), and Ian Munro (piano) head up a first-class group of instrumentalists. Special mention should also be made of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (conductor David Stanhope), who passionately support the singer with some ferociously fine string playing in the title selection. Production values are top-notch and sound quality is excellent.

David Cleary, 21st-Century Music

 

 

Cover of Whispers CD with a black and white image of Andrew Ford

Whispers:
Chamber Music of Andrew Ford

The Art of Puffing: 17 elegies for Thomas Chatterton; Pastoral; Sacred Places; Whispers

Duo Contemporain, Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players, Gerald English, Griffiths University Ensemble

Tall Poppies TP053 CD

> Buy the CD from the Australian Music Centre - individual works also available as MP3 files

 

 

 

Broadway Boogie-Woogie
for solo piano

Michael Kieran Harvey, piano
Broadway Boogie
Move Records MD 3315

> Buy an MP3 (of Broadway Boogie Woogie only) or buy the CD (Australian Music Centre)

Cover of Water Settings CD

The Crantock Gulls
for two drummers

Match Percussion
Daryl Pratt and Alison Eddington
Water Settings
Tall Poppies TP 183

> Buy an MP3 file (of Crantock Gulls only) or buy the CD (AMC)

"The Crantock Gulls, named after the small Cornish village, were prey to polymetre squawking seagulls according to Ford and if his music successfully conveys it – and I’ve not misunderstood it – it was also raining like crazy... The arresting tattoos are
increasingly and uncomfortably fractious."

Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb International

Cover of Electric Cello CD

 

Memorial
for cello and digital delay

David Pereira
Electric Cello
Tall Poppies TP 180

> Buy an MP3 file (of Memorial only) or buy the CD (AMC)

"Andrew Ford’s Memorial refers to the handing back of ‘Uluru’ (Ayers Rock) to its traditional guardians (the [CD] booklet says ‘owners’, but that’s another debate). Ford wrestled with his reluctance to engage with Aboriginal culture, but ultimately, seeing Uluru’s physical presence as a kind of memorial, almost a cenotaph in the middle of Australia, expressed this
partly as a lament, partly as a celebration of the strength and endurance of the Aboriginal people. The cello is treated with a delay which in fact makes
it sound as if it is placed in a vast acoustic. The echoes come to us as if from the inside of caverns measureless to man, and to me very movingly
express the loneliness and incredible hugeness of the Australian outback."

Dominy Clements, Musicweb International


Cover of Icon CD

 

Four Winds
for saxophone quartet

Continuum Sax
Icon
CSAX-02

Cover of Still Life CD with a photo of Patricia Pollett

 

Swansong
for solo viola

Patricia Pollett
Australian music for viola
Tall Poppies TP162 CD

> Buy an MP3 file (Swansong only) or buy the CD (AMC)

Cover of Rough Magic CD with a photo of Marshall McGuire

 

Rough Magic
for solo harp

Marshall McGuire
ABC Classics/Polygram 456 696-2 CD

 

Getting Blue
for alto sax and vibraphone

Duo Contemporain
Globe GLO 5176 CD

 

Cover of Different Angels CD

 

Wassails and Lullabies
for chamber choir and percussion

Adelaide Chamber Singers/Carl Crossin
ACSCD 002 CD

Cover of Spinning CD with Geoffrey Collins playing the flute

 

Spinning
for alto flute

Geoffrey Collins, flute
Tall Poppies TP069

> Buy an MP3 file (Spinning only) or buy the CD (AMC)

 

 

Wassails and Lullabies
for chamber choir and percussion

Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir/Walker
ABC Classics/PolyGram 446 975-2 CD

 

Cover of The laughter of mermaids CD

 

The Laughter of Mermaids
for six voices

The Song Company/Peelman

Vox Australis VAST016-2 CD

> Buy the CD (Australian Music Centre)

 

A Kumquat for John Keats
for solo piano

Lisa Moore
Tall Poppies TP040 CD

> Buy an MP3 file (A Kumquat for John Keats) or buy the CD (AMC)

 

 

Patapan
for orchestra

Australian Youth Orchestra/Abbott
Tall Poppies TP016 CD

> Buy an MP3 file (AMC)

 

Cover of the HET trio CD

 

Ringing the Changes
for piccolo, bass clarinet and piano

HET Trio
Attacca-Babel 9161-4 CD

 

Cover of the Australian String Quartets CD

 

Australian String Quartets

Sydney String Quartet
ABC Classics/PolyGram 426 992 CD and cassette

 

 

Boatsong

Duo Contemporain
[Pro Viva ISPV 140] LP

   
   
 
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