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Full orchestra with choir

Australian choral works with orchestra

Given modern Australia’s British roots, it is no surprise that the Choral Society, or its heirs and assigns, survives as a major musical organisation in most capital cities. And as well as merely serving up a diet of Messiahs and Belshazzar’s Feasts, many have commissioned new works. Resident composers since Isaac Nathan, who arrived in 1841, have composed choral works of various kinds; Eugene Goossens’s The Apocalypse of 1954 out-Waltoned Walton but failed to set the world on fire. Subsequent choral-orchestral works have in the main tended to be in the oratorio tradition, often specifically for public ceremonial events, such as Barry Conyngham’s Antipodes for Victoria’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 1985, or Peter Sculthorpe’s Child of Australia for the national Bicentenary in 1988. Others, like Moya Henderson in her recent work based on the Anna Akhmatova Requiem, use the choral-orchestral forces to explore important humanitarian and political issues.

Representative works

  Work Notes
A fringe of leaves (1982) by Brian Howardthis work for wordless double chorus and strings dramatises the Eliza Fraser shipwreck story, as fictionalised in Patrick White’s novel of the same title.
Requiem (2004) by Peter Sculthorpebrings together the traditional Latin Mass for the dead with Aboriginal traditions, melodies and sounds.
Digital sheet music sample Through the fire (2003) by Gordon Kerrycommemorates the trauma of the 2003 bushfires (two soloists, chorus and orchestra).
Digital sheet music sample Mourning and the light within (2006) by John Petersonbrings together words from Ecclesiastes and the medieval Stabat mater to mourn the deaths of children in the Beslan siege.
Spell of creation (2000) by Nigel Butterleythis work for soloists, semi-chorus, choir and orchestra is a summation of the composer’s lifelong syncretic spiritual interests
 Passion according to St Mark (2009) by Mills, Richardin the tradition of the Bach Passions dramatises and comments on Mark’s account of Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion, with verses from the prophets, psalms and Dante’s vision of Paradise.

Broader categories of Full orchestra with choir