‘Hierusalem’ from bel a cappella


Bel a cappella’s November concert of  20th and 21st century music reaches back in time to Latin for its title: Hierusalem. It’s also the name of George Dyson’s 1956 composition, a 15-verse hymn  for soprano solo, chorus, strings, harp and organ which will receive its Australian premiere at the Remembrance Day concert.

Other repertoire in the programme by the 25-30 strong vocal ensemble, conducted by Music Director Anthony Pasquill, includes music by Gustav Mahler, Gustav Holst and contemporary Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks (b 1946), whose Missa will also be heard in Australia for the very first time.

For this concert Bel a cappella will be joined by the Lurline Chamber Orchestra and Sydney soprano Alice Girle for Hierusalem. Girle has sung with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Neil Finn, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Voices. She has recently completed a Bachelor of Music in classical voice at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Anthony Pasquill is looking forward to the concert: “It’s a really exciting concert and a privilege to be able to bring important works to Australia so we’re all looking forward to performing alongside the Lurline Chamber Orchestra.”

Gustav Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen is possibly better known as the 3rd of 5 songs in the Rückert-Lieder. The prospect of a choral arrangement may raise eyebrows until you learn that it’s arranged for 16 part choir by arrangement by Clytus Gottwald, founder and long time director of the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum until his retirement in 1988. Says Pasquill “It is possibly my favourite choral work at present.”

George Dyson (1883 – 1964) and Pasquill share a common heritage in that they are both from Yorkshire. Dyson played the organ at the local church and gained his qualifications as an organist at 16, winning an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music in 1900 where he studied composition under Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and where he was later appointed Director.

Holst’s Two Psalms 86 and 148 (1912) were written for chorus, string orchestra and organ, after a long period under the influence of oriental aesthetics and before he wrote the very popular ‘Mars’ for The Planets. The small amount of sacred music he wrote is considered more spiritual than religious.

A clarinettist and graduate of Leeds University Anthony Pasquill was appointed conductor of the Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) Chamber Orchestra and assistant of the LUUMS Symphony Orchestra. He was also involved with LS2 (School of Music Contemporary Music Ensemble (2007), the University of Leeds Philharmonia (2006-7) and the University Liturgical Choir.

He is currently participating in Symphony Australia’s conductor training programme and has already spent time working with the Auckland Philharmonia under Chief Conductor Eckehard Stier and recently Christopher Seaman as well as a week in Melbourne with Sebastian Lang-Lessing.

In 2012 he has been assistant chorus-master at Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, during which time he has prepared the choirs for several concerts at the Sydney Opera House including Poulenc ‘Gloria’ with David Zinman and Tchaikovsky ‘Pique Dame’ with Vladimir Ashkenazy.

The Programme:
George Dyson Hierusalem (Australian Premiere)
Gustav Mahler Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Gustav Holst Psalms 86 and 148
Pēteris Vasks Missa (Australian Premiere)

Tickets: Adult $30, Senior/Pensioner $25, Student $20


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