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Young Voices of Melbourne have made eight CD recordings which are available to the public.
Songs recorded are listed below.
All CDs are AU$22 including GST.


Mixed Fortunes
Mixed Fortunes is an entertaining, original and accessible work, with the hilarious text superbly set by Peter Butler, and wonderfully interpreted by the choir and soloists. Following is an outline of the story. Choirs' interested in performing this work, who would like to see a score and hear the CD should be in touch.

In October 1998 Young Voices of Melbourne presented the world premiere of a new comic oratorio by Australian composer Peter Butler, and librettist Mark Garner. This wonderful work, written specially for the choir, is scored for treble choir SSA with divisions, piano and two adult soloists. Duration is around 40 minutes. The second performance of Mixed Fortunes was given in Peter and Mark's home town of Bendigo, with the composer at the piano, and soloists Henry Choo and Andrew Wailes. This performance was recorded and is available on this CD.

The Story
We are introduced to the Rural and Regional Amateur Choral Society, a choir noted more for ambition than for musical virtuosity, at one of its weekly rehearsals. After a while, the conductor announces some "glorious news": the choir has been invited to perform at the opera house, in the national song competitions. The rehearsal ends with a rhapsodic chorus of delight by the overjoyed choir members.

That night, the pianist and the conductor, unbeknown to each other, each resolve to compose a song for the choir to perform at the competition. For these two have been harbouring secret ambitions for years: "this is the opportunity they've waited for, the golden hour their genius was created for". The pianist confesses that the job of playing the piano for "self-opinionated bass and second-rate soprano" is not his first love: "for though piano may be grand, composing is my forte". The conductor, too, is tired of playing the role of "conductor-dilettante" , and in a moment of inspiration cries, "begone baton! Just let me write cantato con amore." And so they set secretly to work. Aided by inner voices of inspiration, the conductor composes a sweetly sentimental love song, whilst at the same time the pianist is penning a number that expresses the same sentiments in a rather more raunchy manner. They work all night in a fury of creativity, till at dawn, "keyed by the strains of orchestration, they slump in their chairs as though dead".

At the eagerly-awaited next rehearsal, both the pianist and the conductor announce to the choir members "something wonderful of which I must apprise you". Each bursts into song, proclaiming the appearance of a new magnum opus. It is, they sing, a "mighty magnum opus - magniloquently magnum, magnetically magnum, magnificently magnum" and (what is more) "I opused it alone". It takes some time for either of them to notice that the other is claiming the same thing, but when realisation eventually dawns, they are both so infuriated to have their thunder stolen that a fist-fight seems inevitable. Such unseemly behaviour by their two leaders is only just prevented by the choir members, who hastily suggest that they will learn both songs, and decide later which one they will sing at the competitions. So honour is temporarily satisfied, and the pianist and conductor set to work with a will, teaching the new songs.

Unfortunately, however, as the weeks go by and the two songs are mastered, it proves more difficult to decide between them than the choristers suspected. They see good and bad points in each. They try to decide whether the judges on the night of the performance will look more favourably on the pianist's up-tempo, sexy number or the melodious but rather schmaltzy composition by the conductor. Argue as they will, they can reach no agreement, and finally they postpone their decision until the very night of the competitions. It will, they tell themselves, be easier, when the deadline is reached, to make a "spur-of-the-moment, right-off-the-cuff, knee-jerk reaction, ready and rough".

And so the climactic evening arrives. In front of a packed house, and an international television audience of millions, the world-famous compere enters to a huge ovation. He waits for silence, and then makes an announcement that sends shock-waves through our choir. The first performers, having succumbed to stage-fright and drink, and are unfit to appear, so the competitions will commence with the Rural and Regional Amateur Choral Society.

It is too late to decide on their song-they are thrust in confusion on to the stage. Desperately, the conductor tells them to "take a moment, some music, a deep breath, and GO!, The result is choral chaos: some of the choir sings one song, some the other, and some sing bits of each. The audience rolls in the aisles, "laughing till it cried". Despite wishing the earth would swallow them up, the Rural and Regional performers bravely complete their disastrous rendition, then drag themselves offstage in mortification. They are glad only of one thing: their ordeal is over. They hide in the toilets and compose suicide notes.

But one more trial awaits them. At the end of the evening, they must crawl back onstage, join the other choirs, and face the "world's mocking eyes" once more. The judges rise and make a long, pompous speech about how hard it was to make a decision between the excellent competitors. At last they come to their announcement. There was, they say, one "peerless act, buffissimo con moto", which gladdened the heart of every musophile with "a truly unique choral form". The winner is ... the Rural and Regional Amateur Choral Society!

The stunned choir at first cannot believe their ears, but they quickly regain their composure and, in a triumphant final chorual acceptance speech claim they knew all along they would win: "belief in our inspired endeavour never wavered, never, never."


Thanks to the Australian Council for the Arts for their support


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