Cantus uses many of the visual elements in the poem The Voice by John Paisley. His watery images – the sea, surf, tides, fountains, beaches and singing in the untroubled depths – are underlined by many of the melodic shapes in the music. Surging, falling and echoing motions are used in keeping with the ebb and flow of the poem, and solo voices move in and out of the main chorus as in the poem. The light notes mingle with the darkened air.
Cantus was written in 1993 and modified in 1995 for the NZ Secondary Schools Choir. Its first public performance was given by Bel Canto Vocal Ensemble at the 1996 NZ International Festival of the Arts.
(Bronwyn Thomson 1996)
First performed by Bal Canto at NZIFA in March 1996
'The Voice' by John Paisley
22 Mar 1996: performed by Bel Canto cond. Peter Walls; St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington, as part of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts
22 Mar 1996: Performed by Bel Canto Vocal Ensemble conducted by Peter Walls at St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington as part of the 1996 NZ International Festival of the Arts.