How Richard Gill got a new work out of Iain Grandage for Sydney Chamber Choir.

How does a new work come about? While some might think it involves major arts funding applications, serious sponsorship deals, or philanthropists with multi-million dollar businesses, the truth might surprise you. Inspired by Richard Gill’s impassioned words about new Australian compositions, two Sydney Chamber Choir patrons from Balmain decided to commission a leading composer to write a wedding present for their son and prospective daughter-in-law. Next Saturday you can hear the result. Meanwhile, here’s how it all happened

The conductor: Building a programme…

Bach’s Easter cantata Christ lag in Todes Bandenwas composed when the composer was a mere 22 years of age. Its journey from the sombre picture of Christ lying in Death’s chains to his resurrection and victory, displays a quality of craftsmanship, knowledge of theology and psychological awareness that seems extraordinary in one so young. Next to Bach, Handel, his exact contemporary, appears an inveterate traveller, who by the age of 21 had left his native Germany, travelled to Italy, where amidst the far more extrovert artistic atmosphere of Venice and Rome, he composed possibly the most virtuosic of...

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