Carol of the Birds by The Adelaide Singers and the South Australian Symphony Orchestra
‘Carol of the Birds’ is from the album Australian Christmas Carols and performed by the South Australia Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Singers. Conducted by Patrick Thomas, who began his career playing flute in the ABC's Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Thomas went on to a career conducting orchestras across Australia, South Africa and Europe.
Written in 1948 by musician WG James and lyricist John Wheeler, ‘Carol of the Birds’ is a significant shift away from European Christmas carols depicting scenes and features from cold European winters. Beautifully composed playful lyrics such as ‘… brolgas are dancing, lifting their feet like warhorses prancing’ warms our hearts and showcase our abundant native bird life and gives a more authentic picture of an Australian Christmas. The word ‘Orana’ is from Aboriginal language and means ‘Welcome’.
With a bright string section rising above the Adelaide Singers’ cheery vocals, the orchestra offers up a counterbalance of dramatic percussion in the form of timpani. The recording from 1969 is dynamic and full and would have been recorded as a live performance.