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Halcyon Days (2020)

for SATB choir | 00:03:30

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Jacqueline Goldfinger

Melissa Dunphy is an original and exciting composer living in the USA, though of Australian background. Her piece Halcyon Days, written to a new text from her regular collaborator poet Jacqueline Goldfinger, creates a period of calm during winter storms where we reflect on what we have lost but rise up to face the new year with joy and grace. Written for SATB unaccompanied choir this piece is suitable for any winter concert. Halcyon Days was commissioned by VOCES8 for their LIVE From London festival in 2020.

"Melissa Dunphy’s Halcyon Days is a Rutter-esque ditty: a lovely ensemble narrative in which VOCES8 affectionately shaped the phrases and pointed the text; counterpoint and dialogue were counterposed with homophony, and the result was a beautifully concordant and consoling prayer." [Opera Today]

"[Dunphy's] Halcyon Days (text Jacqueline Goldfinger) is a radiant meditation of the sacred, the familiarity of ‘well-worn prayers’ and a rising up towards a dawn of joy and peace." [Seen and Heard International]

Sacred days draw near, traditions hallowed and wan,
Well-worn prayers embrace their heirs when love returns as embers.
Dreams delayed, hopes frayed in the blue nights of winter,
Daybreak dreams of reunions lost.
Rise up, tattered and torn! Rise up, barren and reborn!
Go forth in peace, bring joy to the dawn,
and grace, turn your face upon us.

—Jacqueline Goldfinger, 2020


  • 23 Jun, 2021: St Martin’s Voices and Anna Lapwood at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, UK
  • 21 Jun, 2021: BBC Singers (cond. Nicholas Chalmers) at Nevill Holt Opera June Festival, UK
  • 05 Dec, 2020: VOCES8 at LIVE from London