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The Diggers' Requiem


The Diggers' Requiem

  • Date: Saturday, 6 October 2018, 7:30pm
  • Venue: Llewellyn Hall ANU School of Music — School of Music, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • Tickets: Full: $65 | Conc./Pens.: $55 | Under-24: $24 | Under-5: free — Tickets can be purchased online

Event Details

The Diggers’ Requiem is a moving and beautiful Australian tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. The newly formed Australian War Memorial Orchestra and Choir along with members of the Band of the Royal Military College Duntroon, will be directed by Christopher Latham.

The Requiem represents - in 12 movements - the battles of Fromelles, Pozières, Bapaume, Bullecourt, Villers-Bretonneux, Hamel, Amiens, Péronne and Mont Saint-Quentin, Bellenglise, Montbrehain, Ypres and Passchendaele in Belgium. It refers to death of the Red Baron and the charge of Beersheba in Palestine, which was the last great charge of cavalry. 62,000 bells representing each Australian who died are incorporated into the last movement, Lux Aeterna.

The different movements were written by some of the greatest Australian contemporary composers, as well as the recently discovered Frederick Septimus Kelly, who died at Beaumon-Hamel in 1916. His Lament of the Somme, which evokes the Battle of Pozières, near Albert, was written just two weeks before his death. Elena Kats-Chernin, who finished writing her piece last year, will evoke the battle of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais. Alex Lithgow who wrote the stirring Victoria March, which was played by the Australian Army as it marched into Bapaume in 1917, has his work incorporated into Nigel Westlake’s the Glass Soldier, a piece for trumpet and orchestra. A lone piper plays a lament in the last movement.

This extraordinary symphonic work was devised and curated by Christopher Latham, Artistic Director of the Flowers of War project, and the first musical artist-in-residence at the Australian War Memorial.

Concert Program

Overture: dedicated to all military and civilian victims of war
Elena Kats-Chernin (b. 1957): The Silent Field *


Movement 1: REQUIEM AETERNAM, for Fromelles
GF Handel (1685-1759): Dead March * from Saul

Movement 2: KYRIE, for Pozières
FS Kelly (1881 - 1916): The Somme Lament *


Movement 3: TUBA MIRUM, for Bapaume
Nigel Westlake (b. 1958) / AF Lithgow (1870 – 1929): Entering Bapaume †

Movement 4: LACRIMOSA, for Bullecourt
Elena Kats-Chernin: The Fields of Bullecourt

Movement 5: VIRTUS ET CONSTANTIA, for the WWI Palestine Campaign
Richard Mills (b. 1949): The Charge of Beersheba

Movement 6: DIES IRAE, the Third Battle of Ypres
Nigel Westlake: The Age of Destruction †


Movement 7: SANCTUS FOR ICARUS, The Fall of Aces
Nigel Westlake: Wooden Birds Fly Over the Valley of the Somme †

Movement 8: BENEDICTUS, Protecting Amiens
Nigel Westlake: Symphony of Glass and Stone †

Movement 9: LIBERA ME, for Villers-Bretonneux
Nigel Westlake: I Was Blind – But Now I See †

Movement 10: PIE JESU, the Liberation of Péronne
Graeme Koehne (b. 1956): Pie Jesu: Prayer of Saint Joan of Arc

Movements 11 & 12: LUX AETERNA & IN PARADISUM, for Bellenglise and Montbrehain – the piercing of the Hindenburg Line – incorporating Pipe Major John Grant’s WWI tune, The Lament for the Pipers Lost in the Great War
Ross Edwards (b. 1943): Eternal Light

* arranged by Christopher Latham
† from The Glass Soldier


The Australian War Memorial Orchestra & Choir and members of the Band of the Royal Military College Duntroon with Paul Goodchild - trumpet; Simone Riksman - soprano (Holland); Christina Wilson - mezzo-soprano; David Novak - accordion (Slovenia); Jordan Aikin - bagpipes (UK); Timothy Young - piano; David Pereira - cello; Tobias Cole - Choirmaster; Louise Page - Vocal Coach; Directed by Christopher Latham

Featured non-Australian music: Handel

Further information for this event is available online at the event's website or by phone on 0408 440 426 or by email to team@theflowersofwar.org

Featured Australian Works

Harmonia Bellum, op. 104 : for orchestra (2018) by Andrew Schultz — World premiere
— performed by Chris Latham and Diggers' Requiem Orchestra
Lacrimosa : The Fields of Bullecourt by Elena Kats-Chernin
— performed by Chris Latham
Digital sheet music sample Lux Aeterna : for chorus and orchestra (2017) by Ross Edwards
— performed by Chris Latham and The Australian War Memorial Orchestra & Choir
Pie Jesu : Prayer of Saint Joan of Arc by Graeme Koehne
— performed by Chris Latham
The Charge of Beersheba by Richard Mills
— performed by Chris Latham
The glass soldier : an orchestral suite in 5 movements (2007) by Nigel Westlake
— performed by Chris Latham and The Australian War Memorial Orchestra & Choir
The Silent Field by Elena Kats-Chernin
— performed by Chris Latham

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