top of page

Untold Stories


8.00pm 27 June 2015

St Andrews on the Terrace

Directed by Julian Raphael


Nota Bene presents the NZ premiere of a song cycle by local composer and conductor Julian Raphael, and takes a trip to New England, with a selection of contemporary shape-note songs by two Vermont composers.


Brendan Taaffe is well known to many in New Zealand, having held two workshops here since 2013, while the three songs of Don Jamison included in the programme are considered by many to be some of the most exquisitely beautiful of all contemporary shape-note compositions. The texts centre on familiar themes: home and heartbreak, our kinship with the earth, and our love for one another.


Shape-note music is a tradition rooted in the singing school music of New England. It has been said of it that “there is, perhaps, no other easily accessible written choral music which is so much fun to sing”. The seeming effortlessness of the composition and the care given to natural word-setting—combined with the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic intricacies—make these songs enormously pleasurable, both to sing and to listen to.


The concert takes its title from Julian Raphael’s song cycle Untold Stories (lyrics by Frances Knight), written for choir, soloists and instrumental ensemble.


Originally commissioned by the UK’s Canterbury Festival in 2002, Untold Stories comprises music and words reflecting the diversity and excitement of music from different cultures, with references to the music of West and South Africa, African-American gospel, South American laments and Balkan rhythms.


For this first NZ performance the work has been revised for Nota Bene.


Tickets: General admission $25. Concession $15. Children free.

Bookings at

Further information at


With the support of the Four Winds Foundation and Wellington Creative Communities

Nota Bene logo
bottom of page