Great Hall Rising was originally conceived to be staged inside Parliament House but unfortunately COVID restrictions prevented that occurrence. Nevertheless, this all-Australian program, including composers and musicians, touched on events that have influenced our history and shone a light on our democracy.

Aunty Delmae Barton and William Barton Aunty Delmae Barton and William Barton at the Canberra International Music Festival. Photo © Peter Hislop

Vincent Plush’s 40-year-old horn piece, Bakery Hill Rising,in memory of the Eureka Stockade of 1854, opened the concert. This haunting and beautifully realised work for french horn, tells the story of the stand taken by the Ballarat gold miners against British taxes, where 20 miners died and many more arrested. Famously, they raised the Stockade Flag, which was shown on a screen during this performance to remind us of the tragedy that occurred. Aidan Gabriels entered the Fitters Workshop poignantly playing this horn solo, the stirring music enhanced by elements of Percy Grainger’s The Duke of Marlboroughand fragments of an early folksong, Freedom on the Wallaby.Assisted by an additional soundscape from pre-recorded horns, the story unfolded...