Amy Dickson: Island Songs | Sony 88875169062

Amy Dickson: Island Songs

Label: Sony

Cat No: 88875169062

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 8th January 2016



Amy Dickson (saxophone)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra


Benjamin Northey
Miguel Harth-Bedoya


Dean, Brett

The Siduri Dances

Edwards, Ross

Full Moon Dances (5)

Sculthorpe, Peter

Island Songs (2)


Amy Dickson (saxophone)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra


Benjamin Northey
Miguel Harth-Bedoya


Twice Grammy-nominated Amy Dickson made history by becoming the first saxophonist and the first Australian to win the 2013 MasterCard Breakthrough Artist of the Year Classic Brit Award. Recognised widely for her remarkable and distinctive tone and exceptional musicality, she has performed throughout the world in prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House, and as a soloist with orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

Peter Sculthorpe's 'Island Songs' contains some of the most beguilingly lyrical music written by the foremost Australian composer of his generation, whose death in August 2014 was lamented throughout the world.

Ross Edwards' 'Full Moon Dances' is made up of five seamless movements, creating a kaleidoscope of sound featuring fragments of birdsong, plainsong, drones and indigenous chants from around the world. These sounds are brought together around the central figure of the solo saxophonist.

'The Siduri Dances', by composer, conductor and violist Brett Dean, celebrates another female figure: Ďa wise female divinity from the Epic of Gilgamesh'.

Island Songs and The Siduri Dances were recorded in the Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo, with conductor Benjamin Northey and ARIA-Award-winning producer-engineer Virginia Read; Full Moon Dances was recorded live in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House with Miguel Harth-Bedoya on the podium.


Atmospheric nocturnal ceremonies alternate with frenetic ritual dances in a dramatic sequence which is also a brilliant showpiece for the soloist. In the concert hall [Ross Edwards's Full Moon Dances] has a theatrical element of costume and lighting. But the thrilling performance and vivid recording more than make up for its absence. Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine February 2016
[...] this is a superb disc, its programme of contemporary Australian music an ideal showcase for Amy Dickson's talents. She gives us three contrasting pieces, each of which was either composed or arranged for her. [...] Sculthorpe's matchless ability to evoke vast, parched landscapes is as strong as ever, and the more literal moments (like the swooping bird calls near the close of the second movement) never sound hackneyed. Dickson's cantabile playing throughout what sounds like a long, wordless aria is peerless. [...] Brett [Dean]'s scoring for strings is predictably impressive, particularly the pale, bleached chords at the work's close. Ross Edwards' Full Moon Dances is a rousing piece of exotica, its two Ritual Dances not a million miles from Prokofiev's brash Scythian Suite. Edwards can do calm too, and there's a sublime slow interlude suggesting an Antipodean Lark Ascending. All highly recommendable, in other words, and idiomatically accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Benjamin Northey and Miguel Harth-Bedoy.  Graham Rickson 6 February 2016
[...] saxophonist Amy Dicksonís new release is an intriguing and entirely serious collection of recent works by Australian composers, works she did much to create. [...] it is Brett Deanís 2007 flute concerto The Siduri Dances, here arranged for saxophone, which offers the most wide-ranging demonstration of Dicksonís mastery with its note-bending, buzzing effects and hectic rhythms. Erica Jeal
The Guardian 22 January 2016

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