On August 9, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Brisbane Chorale will perform the world premiere of my very dramatic choral/symphonic work Peace at the Last at their ‘Not The Last Night of the Proms’ concert in the QPAC Concert Hall, under the baton of Maestro Alondra de la Parra. Taking after the great British Proms concert tradition, my piece is included amongst a colourful assortment of works by Australians, Americans and Brits, including the usual pomp and ceremony associated with those wonderful musical events. Appropriately, my work is full of celebration and a touch of humour, but the overriding message is simple and serious: world peace.
Joseph Twist. Photo © George Popov
Peace At The Last is a setting of words from the sermon Wisdom and Innocence by British Cardinal John Henry Newman. It is a passionate plea for respite from the pressures of daily life and the ultimate hope of peace.
“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.”
Despite my love of and involvement with sacred music, I’m not a religious person. However, the imagery and gravitas of these gracious words inspired me to create a kind symphonic ‘story’ – a broad aspect of my musical style which inspires my music for the church or concert hall, and it’s obviously an integral part of my work writing music for film and television.
In Peace At The Last, orchestra and choir join forces to create a kaleidoscope of musical ideas on this short musical journey, combining and contrasting rhythmic music, choral chanting, melismas, melodic lyricism and plaintive, choral sonority. The juxtaposition of musical ideas throughout reflects both the passion and tranquillity of John Henry Newman’s comforting words which I find just as appropriate and significant today as ever.
First written in 2008, I’ve revised Peace At The Last for this world premiere performance. Now based in Los Angeles (originally from Queensland), unfortunately immigration and work schedules did not permit a visit back home for this wonderful event. Thank you so much to QSO, and Brisbane Chorale, Maestro Alondra de la Parra and choir director Emily Cox who inspired so much in this work from my days singing in her wonderful choirs.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Joseph Twist’s Peace At The Last at QPAC on August 9