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.
'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