"In creating a sound world uniquely his own, Australian composer Ross Edwards has responded chiefly to his natural environment. In the early 1970s he experienced a compositional crisis where he found he was no longer able to compose and could not even listen to music. Instead he turned to sounds of the Australian bush for consolation with striking creative consequences.
Although composed in 1988, the stylistic origins of Maninyas date from the period between 1977 and 1984 when Edwards was living in a coastal village north of Sydney. Composing in this tranquil environment adjoining a national park, two distinct musical styles emerged, each strongly influenced by the sounds and rhythmic patterns of the natural environment.
The first of these is characterised by refined, subtle and austere textures and has come to be known as Edwards’ sacred style because of its alignment with certain oriental musical traditions. Here, isolated sound events are conceived for their spatial and timbral intensity. Rather than hearing a logically ordered sequence of events, the listener becomes aware of the uniqueness of each acoustic experience. The beginnings of Edwards’ sacred style appear in the orchestral work Mountain Village in a Clearing Mist (1973) and can be identified in such works as The Tower of Remoteness (1978), for clarinet and piano, and Yarrageh (1989), for solo percussion and orchestra.
The other style is characterised by an abstraction of insect and bird sounds, lively tempi and rhythms, angular pentatonic melodies and simple drone-like harmonies and is now referred to as the maninya style. This latter style is developed in the Maninya series, a set of vocal and instrumental works written in the years 1981-1986. In describing the compositional process for Maninyas, the composer mentions [...]
‘I had an “up-feeling” in the piece. I’d been writing deeply introspective music and I suddenly noticed the outside world. It was just intensely ecstatic – the sky was blue, the warm air was full of shrieking parrots and an irresistible impulse to dance suddenly took over the music.’"
- Apollonov, Nina. “Maninyas: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1988).” Ross Edwards. Accessed September 20, 2020. https://www.rossedwards.com/maninyas-concerto-for-violin-and-orchestra-1988/.
Carrigan, Jeanell. "Towards an Australian style: on the relationship between the Australian landscape and natural environment and the music of Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards." (1994).
Green, Phoebe, BMus Perf, and LMus Viola VCA. "The Influence of Nature on Two Works for the Viola by Toru Takemitsu and Ross Edwards." (2010).
Hannan, M. F. (1986). Ross Edwards: A Unique Sound World. APRA Journal, 4(1), 12–15. https://researchportal.scu.edu.au/discovery/fulldisplay/alma991012821914902368/61SCU_INST:ResearchRepo sitor
Skinner, Graeme. "Ross Edwards: music of contemplation and sanctuary." 24 Hours (1992): 40-42.