Making Light of Time CD a Victoria collaboration

A CD launching at Victoria University of Wellington next month represents the fruits of a decade-long collaborative partnership between three of New Zealand’s creative masters.

New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) lecturer—and one of New Zealand’s best-known sopranos—Jenny Wollerman collaborated with Emeritus Professor and writer Vincent O’Sullivan, and composer and former lecturer Ross Harris on the three vocal works that feature on the CD Making Light of Time.

“For a composer it’s ideal,” says Mr Harris. “Vincent’s poems were written with the express purpose of being set to music and his words are very evocative of things I like to be able express in music,” he says.

Emeritus Professor O’Sullivan says “Jenny doesn’t just present the songs with her total professionalism, or gift them her splendid voice—she enters them, she makes them her own as much as they are Ross’s or mine.”

Recorded with the New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) and pianist Dr Jian Liu, NZSM Senior Lecturer, ‘Songs for Beatrice: Making Light of Time’ celebrates New Zealand astronomer Beatrice Tinsley, who was amongst the first to prove the universe is infinitely expanding.

‘Abiding Tides’ begins with the optimism of passengers aboard the Titanic then slips into a dark allegory of modern-day migrant ships and losses at sea; while ‘The Floating Bride, the Crimson Village’ is a homage to Chagall's paintings and profound imagination.

Ms Wollerman says she was delighted when Ross Harris suggested recording three of his most recent song cycle works. “I have been honoured to have the opportunity to work with Ross and Vincent in creating the premiere performances for both ‘The Abiding Tides’ and ‘The Floating Bride’. Having their input into my work as a performer through multiple performances over the past years has been a wonderful stimulus now resulting in the hugely satisfying and enlightening interaction I experienced in making this recording.”

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, soprano Jenny Wollerman has performed as a soloist with major arts organisations throughout Australasia. Her interest in New Zealand composition has led to the premieres of numerous works, including the first performances of two of the song cycles on the Making Light of Time recording: ‘The Floating Bride, The Crimson Village’, premiered with pianist Piers Lane at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in 2009, then with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2010, and ‘The Abiding Tides’ in 2010 with the New Zealand String Quartet.

What: Making Light of Time—songs by Ross Harris and Vincent O’ Sullivan, sung by soprano Jenny Wollerman
CD release date: 13 November 2017

The recording of Making Light of Time is funded by Victoria University of Wellington.