By the Water Vocal duet & nature sounds – Intro


By the Water Vocal duet & nature sounds – Main section


By the Water (2012) for soprano & alto voice + nature sound installation – 13 minutes.

Recording: Halcyon

Producers of Council Project: Reclamation.
Stage 1: Dr Penny Stannard & Martha Jabour.
Stage 2: Olev Muska.

Recording sound engineer:
Bob Scott
Nature sound recordings:
Greg Simmons

More info on council website:


Composer’s Note

By the Water by Katia Beaugeais is a haunting soundscape for voice and nature sounds that implores us to consider the natural environment as a source of refuge and beauty.
By the water (Aboriginal: Cabarita) was a commission by the City of Canada Bay Council to reflect the natural environmental setting of Cabarita Park and climate change issues. It was premiered at the 2012 Cabarita Park Twilight Festival by leading Australian vocal ensemble, Halcyon: Jenny Duck-Chong and Alison Morgan. A poem by Australian writer Henry Kendall, Bell Birds (1869), was chosen to represent the three main themes of the work: nature, water and heat.

By the Water contains two main sections:
(1) a soothing introduction where the vocalists begin singing outside the venue and gradually move spatially into the performance space to create an atmospheric quality, and
(2) the main section, where the singers are now positioned on stage.

The premiere of By the Water took place in front of the river foreshore of the Parramatta River at Cabarita Park. Transformed into a dazzling performance venue with live video backdrops and special lighting effects, the women vocalists sung alongside the amplified nature sounds, soaring out of the speakers throughout Cabarita Park, bringing thousands of people together.

A variety of nature sounds were recorded at the site of Cabarita Park and texturally blended to create a tranquil, still character as well as intensity alongside the vocal melodic lines.
Bird, water, sea wave, river wash, wind, rustling trees, a Rivercat ferry and vocal reverb effects enter at different points throughout the piece. Each sampled sound (25 in total) had a particular number and mapped to different notes on the keyboard controller, which were then triggered live during the performance by the composer.

Click to enlarge scores

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