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Baptism by Fire : for double SSAATTBB choir

by Elliott Gyger (2018)

Work Overview

Baptism by Fire was commissioned as one of a series of new works to be interspersed between the movements of Frank Martin's Mass for double choir.

This work takes as its starting point the opening words of the 'Sanctus' and 'Agnus Dei', restoring them to their respective biblical sources: Isaiah's vision of seraphim surrounding the throne of God, and John the Baptist's acclamation of Jesus in the first chapter of John's gospel. These seemingly unconnected passages burgeon with resonances once the context of each is slightly expanded.

My setting interleaves the two texts so as to bring out these links, with Isaiah's words sung by one of the two choirs and John's by the other, although both join forces to depict the splendour of the heavenly vision. Framing the whole are reiterations of the seraphim's acclamation in the original Hebrew and in Greek (the original language of the gospel text), also exploring the antiphonal capabilities of the double choir medium.

Work Details

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: Unaccompanied choir (SSAATTBB).

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Luminescence Chamber Singers for performance by Luminescence Chamber Singers, The Consort of Melbourne.


Performances of this work

5 Oct 18: Xavier College Chapel, Kew, VIC. Featuring Roland Peelman, The Consort of Melbourne, Luminescence Chamber Singers.

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