It has been 100 years since the guns fell silent. After four years of terrible conflict there was finally peace, bringing with it joy, relief and immeasurable hope.
On November 11, 2018, 100 years after the Armistice was signed, bringing a close to the First World War – the Great War, the ‘war to end all wars’ – the Sydney University Graduate Choir will perform Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem at the Sydney Town Hall. This intensely moving work pays tribute to the unbreakable bond between mothers and sons, undiminished even through the horror of war, and acknowledges the sacrifice and suffering, loss and grief sustained by all participants in that dreadful conflict.
An Australian War Requiem
An Australian War Requiem, which premiered to acclaim in 2014, is a large-scale choral work, with libretto by Pamela Traynor based on letters and poems between soldiers at the front and their mothers at home, interspersed with excerpts from the Stabat Mater, the ancient hymn portraying the suffering of Mary at the crucifixion of her son, Jesus Christ.
The first particularly Australian work of its kind, the Requiem is richly textured and dramatically charged work. It evocatively captures the essence of the momentous events that were convulsing the world at that time – the ripples of which are still being felt down the years.
In the words of the composer: “It is my hope that this War Requiem speaks a universal language and reinforces those qualities which bring all people together and enable them to feel a common humanity in peace.”
The Sydney University Graduate Choir was established in 1952 and today has over 100 singers. The Choir is dedicated to high quality performances of great choral music by the established masters and by contemporary composers.
The Choir sings under the direction of the highly respected conductor and composer Christopher Bowen OAM who has been Music Director since 1992. Born in Melbourne, Christopher studied music at Melbourne University and the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien. He has worked with many organisations including the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Opera Australia, the Victorian State Opera and has been a staff member of the Vienna and Sydney Conservatoriums. His considerable body of composition comprises many orchestral and choral works, instrumental and chamber music.
The Sydney University Choir and Orchestra will be joined in this performance by a talented line-up of soloists: Taryn Fiebig (Soprano), Ashlyn Tymms (Mezzo-soprano), Andrew Goodwin (Tenor), Adrian Tamburini (Bass), and Wade Kernot (Bass). A chorus of more than one hundred performers, including guest choir and a children’s chorus will also perform.
The Sydney University Graduate Choir performs An Australian Requiem at the Sydney Town Hall on November 11