Sydney Chamber Choir Explores Maritime Themes In ‘Behold- the Sea!’


Sydney Chamber Choir embarks on Behold – the Sea! a choral voyage through maritime disaster, epic adventure, revelation, island magic and a reverence for sea coasts and depths, in a panoramic concert curated by leading choral conductor, Jonathan Grieves-Smith. Performing with the choir are cellist Christopher Pidcock and violist Heather Lloyd.

Walt Whitman’s declamation Behold – the Sea! is from his poem Leaves of Grass, set by Ralph Vaughan-Williams in his Sea Symphony. Opening with Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s stirring requiem to the hundreds drowned in the 1994 sinking of the passenger ferry Estonia, Sydney Chamber Choir will be joined by the Wollongong vocal ensemble, con voci, for a repeat performance at the Church of the Mall, Wollongong, on Sunday October 7 at 3pm.

Behold – the Sea! includes Cecilia McDowall’s choral homage to Harriet Quimby, the first woman to fly across the English Channel in 1912, just a day after the sinking of the Titanic and Peter Sculthorpe’s The stars turn, a tribute in song to James Cook’s commanding voyage to follow the transit of Venus.

Alice Eather, the young Maningrida teacher and activist who took her life last year, is remembered in a new work by well-known composer and singer Dan Walker, based on her poem Yúya Karrabúra (Fire in Burning) a plea for reconciliation and against mining the coasts of Arnhem Land. The work was commissioned by the Choir’s former President, and Walker’s, fellow chorister Ed Suttle, whose son, Dave, worked closely with Alice Eather.

The program also features James MacMillan’s Strathclyde Motets, which draws on a Scottish region renowned for shipbuilding, as well as premiering in Australia, Nicolas Campion’s classic psalm, De profundis.  From the depths to the stars, this expansive program ends in peace with the last farewell to the departed, In paradisum by the Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.

Jonathan Grieves-Smith is artistic director of professional choir Hallelujah Junction and of the Hamer Singers, and is acclaimed for his 17-years of outstanding leadership of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Tickets from $50 ($45, $25)

Bookings or call (02) 8256 2222


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