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Brisbane Chamber Choir Inc, St John's Anglican Cathedral, 373 Ann Street, Brisbane QLD 4000

SOUNDS OF BRISBANE

It is truly amazing that we've waited until 2016 for an Australian choir to record a CD of Australian sacred choral music. Yes, this is the first!! 

It's well worth the wait. A lot of this music was commissioned by the choir. Specially mention must be made of Ross Edwards' Mass of the Dreaming, a substantial work that will definitely be included among the pantheon of Australian choral works in the future. It's the largest work on this disc and one of the most engaging. 

The Brisbane Chamber Choir sings these works with skill and passion, ably directed by Graeme Morton. The choir has also commissioned the cover art from Kangaroo Valley-based artist Githa Pilbrow, who was inspired by the 2016 Vivid! exhibition in Sydney. Her work Cathedral Light makes a lovely cover.

The Brisbane Chamber Choir comprises singers of diverse backgrounds who are committed to performing repertoire that challenges its members and surprises the public, and Of Earth & Heaven is no different.

 

For this recording project, Brisbane Chamber Choir gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Queensland Government's Community Benefit Funds Unit.

The CD is comprised of a collection of chorals pieces that uniquely showcase the wonderful blend of scared music and the Australian sound. The collection includes works by William Mundy, Anton Bruckner, Tomas Luis de Victoria, William H. Harris, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Whitarce, Rihards Dubra, Jonathon Rathbone, and Ward Swingle.

Imagine a neo-gothic Church building crafted in sandstone-vaulted ceilings. Silently the congregation is surrounded on three sides by members of the choir. As the vocal elements of Will Todd's Angel Song II glide into the air one sense feathery wings and the whispered breath of the Spirit. 

 

Each of the offerings on this CD has been used liturgically in the warm, yet inspiring, space that is St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. Completed in time for the sesquicentenary of the Diocese of Brisbane, the Cathedral is a magnificent amalgam of medieval imagination, modern talent and progressive art. It is a magnificent home to music. The community of St John's is delighted to present this recording as part of its celebration of the Diocese 150th celebrations.

Brisbane Chamber Choir's Time and Eternity explores a combinations of outstanding Australian composers in compraision to stoic traditions of some of the choral composing greats. The CD is divided in to eight sections that encompass short sections of 

The project marks the premiere recording of numerous Australian composers including Paul-Antoni Bonetti, Graeme Morton, John Nickson and Joseph Twist. While the rest of the CD is filled with pieces by George Frideric Handel, John Rutter, Gerald Finzi, Stephen Chatman, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, H. Walford Davies, Thomas Tomkins, Pablo Casals, Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Villiers Stanford, Thomas Morley, John Wilbye, Johannes Brahms and William Harris.

The idea of In Memoriam in on way or another permeates all the music on this recording. In one sense all recording are about memory. We attend a concert and them purchase a recording to remember the event. We watch a film and then remember it via a recording of the sound track. With recordings we also remind ourselves of our past, as anyone who revisited the recordings known and loved in our younger days knows all too well.

At another level we also use recordings to recall our musical heritage. Most of the recordings available to us today are about to remembering this great body of music of which would otherwise be lost to the individual listener. Some would even say that we do this so well that we now remember our musical past but have lost out musical present. 

This recoding is also about "remembering" in several quite specific ways. Since its inception Brisbane Chamber Choir has regularly performed concerts titled In Memoriam and it is this concert by which the choir is possibly best known. Indeed a number of recorded pieces were first performed in this concert, held as close as possible to the eleventh of November each year.

Finally this disc is also in memory of Alan Moffat, the wonderful musician whose organ playing you hear throughout the recording. Not only an organist, Alan was a gifted pianist and accompanist, a fabulous teacher of music theory and a great friend to many. He was also a great fan of the Brisbane Chamber Choir, and the admiration was mutual. In Memoriam is very much a memorial and tribute to Alan, but more than that, for all those who knew him, it is also a means by which we remember him. And we like to think that this is how he would wish to be remembered - playing that French Repertoire that was always his greatest musical passion and love.

All new countries face a similar cultural dilemma - how to balance artistic traditions of our places of origin, which in many senses express who we are, with the creation of new expression that better reflect where we are now and who we have become. And this is not new. "How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange and foreign land"? is an old statement of this exact dilemma. And of course people who come to a new land hold past traditions and experience as very dear. Yet as we develop in confidence and awareness out creativity compels us to express our new selves.

And this especially true of Christmas. Should we sing In the Bleak Mid-winter, as we do while sweltering in the blaze of Australia's summer heat? And why are there so many English Christmas images (The Holly and the Ivy etc.) when Jesus was born in a Mediterranean land? Surely it is because at some stage, English writers and composers also recognized the need to make the story belong to them and to their place.

And so this recording reflects something of our two-faceted Australian Christmas. It includes some of the most beloved of European Christmas music of all time, and places this music beside statements that specific meaning for Australian Christmas. This is especially true of some of the wonderful Australian texts recorded here - NativityMorning Song of the Christ Child, and what is surely one of the truly great Advent texts, We Welcome Summer.

This music has been recorded by three choirs of St John's - the Cathedral Choir (whose boys attend Anglican Church Grammar School on choral scholarships), the Cathedral Singers ( a mixed voice ensemble who regularly sing Evensong) and the Cathedral Chamber Choir (who also function in the wider community as the Brisbane Chamber Choir).