Vivien Hamilton, Len Vorster


Vivien Hamilton – Soprano Len Vorster–Piano 2.00pm

Sunday, 6 May 2012
29 College Crescent, Parkville



Scottish born soprano Vivien Hamilton is one of Australia’s most versatile singers. She knew she wanted to be a professional singer from the age of 7 years and studied the piano to support her aspirations. Vivien completed a Bachelor of Music degree (Honours) at the University of Western Australia in musicology with Professor David Tunley, and singing with acclaimed Australian Soprano Molly McGurk.

Vivien regularly performs throughout Australia, in recital, on radio and on television.  Her career covers a wide portfolio of musical styles and genres: Early Music; 20th-century vocal ensemble work e.g.  Kosky’s Voice, Jam and Videotape for 4 singers, Steve Reich‟s Tehillim; French, American, Australian, English Artsong and Contemporary song recitals with piano; theatre e.g. A Little Night Music with MTC;  and opera. Currently Vivien works with e21, consort eclectus, Rosemary Hodgson  (lute), Len Vorster (piano), and Glenn Riddle (piano).

Vivien has recorded for ECM with The Hilliard Ensemble in Passio by Estonian composer Arvo Part;  TER Classics with  New Sadler’s Wells Opera in Léhar’s The Merry Widow; ABC Classics with Rosalind HaltonOlimpia: Cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti and Move Records Tyrannic Love: Choice Songs and Ayres of the Restoration Stage  “Vivien Hamilton is the star of the show. Words are subtly coloured approach which is in sympathy with the music.”  Vivien‟s most recent CD Burns and Beyond: Songs of Robert Burns pays tribute to Scottish poetry and was released in the Scottish Year of Homecoming, 2009.

Vivien is the director of the Early Voices Ensemble at the Early Music Studio, The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Vivien will soon appear on SBS singing music by Percy Grainger for the CLASSICAL DESTINATIONS television program.

Len Vorster  –  piano

Len Vorster left South Africa for Australia in 1983 after completing post-graduate piano studies with the eminent pianist Lamar Crowson at the University of Cape Town. He made his concerto debut with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto K456 in 1976.

As a concerto soloist he has recorded Michael Easton’s Concerto on Australian Themes with the State Orchestra of Victoria for Naxos (conducted by Brett Kelly), and gave first performances of the work in Italy, Hungary, Germany, and with the Royal Academy Orchestra in London in 2001. He has performed with the Melbourne Musicians conducted by Frank Pam, the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Chris Kopke, and with the Geelong Chamber Orchestra conducted by Stephen Roth. His Naxos recording of the two-piano version (with Robert Chamberlain) of Holst’s The Planets has received a Gramophone Magazine award and with Merlyn Quaife he has been nominated for an Aria award for his Naxos recording of music by Manuel de Falla. Len Vorster has also recorded numerous other CD‟s both solo and collaborations with other artists on the Naxos, ABC Classics, Move and Tall Popies labels. Len Vorster is the founding Artistic Director of Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. He is currently on the piano staff at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and VCASS.


Six Degrees of Separation

Music by members of „Les Six‟and their friends

‘Six Degrees of Separation’ – the idea that everyone in the world is separated by a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements, which on average can connect any two people in six steps or fewer.‘

Vivien Hamilton, Soprano,

Len Vorster, Piano

On 16 January 1916 in an article in Comoedia  titled “Les cinq Russes, les six Français et M. Satie” critic Henri Collet coined the term “Les Six” to describe a group of six composers who were working in Montparnasse in the second decade of the 20th century.  Darius Milhaud said:

“Collet chose six names absolutely arbitrarily, those of Auric, Durey, Honegger, Poulenc and Taillefferre and me simply because we knew each other and were pals and appeared on the same musical programmes, no matter if our temperaments and personalities weren‟t at all the same! Auric and Poulenc followed ideas of Cocteau; Honegger followed German Romanticism, and myself, Mediterranean lyricism!”  Vivien Hamilton and Len Vorster present – in six „degustation‟ size courses – a program of French musical delicacies which were composed, in part, as reaction to the harshness encountered by a Europe battered by the atrocities of World War 1.  This reaction included a return to the use of compositional forms of the Baroque and other earlier musical eras by “Les Six” and a rejection of the grandiose musical language of composers such as Wagner.

Emulating the format style of a gourmet restaurant menu each “course” of music includes a combination of tasty musical morsels by the composers of „Les Six‟ alongside songs by composers who are in some way connected to them by „Six Degrees of Separation‟ – as teacher, mentor, or student and admirer!  „Six Degrees of Separation‟ is a program which is influenced by a combination of Surréalism, Sensualitié and Sentimentalité and consists of songs which are suitable for the French concert hall, but influenced by ragtime, baroque music, jazz and the smokey cabaret of 1920‟s Paris. It is designed to please and satisfy the senses: “If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.” [Duke Orsino]


First Course:
Erik Satie (1866-1925) La Diva de L’Empire (1904)
VincentD‟Indy (1851-1931) Madrigal, dans le style ancien Op. 4 (1872)
Francis Poulenc (1899 -1963) Air Champetre(1928)
Erik Satie (1866-1925) Gnossienne No. 3 (1890)
Erik Satie (1866-1925) Elegie (1886)

Second Course:

Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) Trois chansons de Jean Tardieu (1977)

Andre Gedalge (1856-1926)             Je doispartir(1909)

Georges Auric (1899-1983)              Lord Bolingbroke

Georges Auric (1899-1983)              Il se peutqui’unrêveétrange

    (both from „TroisPoèmes de Max Jacob‟ (1946) Erik Satie (1866 -1925)    Ludions (1923)

Third Course:

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)           Le Bestiaire (1920)

JS Bach (1685-1750)                          Slow Movement (from Concerto no 5, in F minor) (1738)

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947)           À Chloris (1916)

Frederic Mompou       (1893-1987) Cantardel Alma (1951)


Fourth Course:

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)             Tilimbom (1917)

Louis Durey (1888-1979)                 Je lis (from „DeuxPoèmesd‟Ho-Chi-Minh‟)

Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)          Le  Negre

(from‟ 6 Poèsies de Jean Cocteau‟, H.51) (1920-1923)

Charles Ives (1874-1954) Elégie(1901)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Fifth Course: La Plus que lent (1910)
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) Chansons de Négresse, no. 1 and no. 2 (1935)
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) Sumare (from  „Saudades do Brasil‟ Op. 67) (1921)
Lord Berners (1883-1950)    The Green Eyed Monster
Lord Berners (1883-1950) Red Roses and Red Noses

(both from(from „Three English Songs‟) by Lord Bremers(1920)

Sixth Course:

Charles Trenet (1913-2001)       La Mer (1946)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950)               La Compleinte de la Seine (1934)

Edith Piaf (1915-1963)               La Vie en rose  (1945)

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)     Les Chemins de l’amour ( 1940)