Award-winning composer and former director of Sydney Chamber Choir, Paul Stanhope, returns to lead the Choir at City Recital Hall on Saturday 13 March 2021 in the world premiere of his Requiem – a masterwork of transcendent beauty and healing in a program of choral music around similar themes of mortality, hope, ritual and powerful connection to country.
Twenty years in the making, Stanhope’s Requiem is dedicated to another former director of the Choir, the beloved music educator, the late Richard Gill, and also the former Westmead hospital administrator who commissioned the Requiem, the late Russell Mills.
Drawing on the Requiem’s long tradition of liturgical and modern secular and poetic reinterpretations, Stanhope underpins the settings of the Latin Mass for the Dead with poetry by Emily Dickinson, Mary Elizabeth Frye and Oodgeroo Noonuccal – the latter’s three poems extending the Requiem to Indigenous mourning rituals back on country.
His program also includes a new work by Yuin composer Brenda Gifford with her celebration of singing in country with Mother Earth/Minga Bagan; and Mary Finsterer’s elegy When soft voices die decrying the death of a friend and single mother.
Also featured will be James MacMillan’s beautiful choral tour de force Miserere; and from the Spanish Renaissance, the funeral motet, Versa est in luctum, from Tomas Luis de Victoria’s own sumptuous Requiem.
“Requiems have a fascinating evolution, but new ones are comparatively rare, and certainly take a long time to compose!” says Paul Stanhope.
“This Requiem, this whole program, is an ongoing conversation between old and new, between a new world of choral exploration but built on the medieval purity and singularity of the human voice.”
“It’s a joy to be back amongst these wonderful voices in Sydney Chamber Choir – one always reaching for new challenges,” said Mr Stanhope.
The Choir will be joined by Jess Ciampa (percussion), Emily Granger (harp), Chloe Lankshear (soprano), Richard Butler (tenor), and from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Euan Harvey (horn) with Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows: Callum Hogan (Oboe); Richard Shaw (Clarinet); and Jordy Meulenbroeks (Bassoon).
Paul Stanhope: A New Requiem
City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
Performance: Saturday 13 March 2021 – 7.30pm
For more information, visit: www.sydneychamberchoir.org for details.
Image: Sydney Chamber Choir – photo by Pedro Greig