Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.


KURSK : An Oratorio Requiem

by David Chisholm (2011)



Add to cart


KURSK : an oratorio requiem / music: David Chisholm ; poetry: Anzhelina Polonskaya.

Library shelf no. 782.23/CHI 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

KURSK: An Oratorio Requiem is a musical memorial to the men who lost their lives on August 12th, 2000, when the Russian submarine KURSK sank in the Barents Sea.

KURSK takes formal vestiges and conditions from both oratorio and requiem. Composed for forces of Bass-Baritone and Soprano soloists, 8 voice male consort and chamber orchestra of 27 featuring solo ¼ tone Flugel Horn, KURSK draws on oratorios marked differentiation from opera - that of limited character development and interaction. An orchestral overture, a signature device of oratorio (and often opera) appears as a virtuosic ¼ tone Flugelhorn concerto for Tristram Williams, splintered across KURSK as a series of instrumental ruptures.

From requiem KURSK draws on the mood and intent of a mass for the departed, as well as its flexible multi-movement structure. KURSK is secular in its text, yet sacred in its intent. KURSK is sung in Russian, its text drawn selectively from the oeuvre of Anzhelina Polonskaya, and sequentially built to suit the musico-dramaturgical needs of the oratorio requiem in consultation and collaboration with this internationally lauded poet. The central soloist is The Sailor (Bass-Baritone), who is framed and supported by a consort of eight solo male voices. The musical language of KURSK weaves echo threads of Ural, Cossack, and Russian musical antecedents, across a neomodernist orchestral frame. Appearing through the work with ever increasing proximity is the offstage Siren (Soprano). She appears onstage at the end of the work as Angel, breaking the dark tone of the work with a bleak ambivalence.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: Vocal Soloists: bass-baritone, soprano ; Instrumental Soloist: 1/4 tone flugelhorn/Bb trumpet ; Male Consort: 4 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 basses ; Orchestra: 2 flutes (both doubling piccolo), Bb clarinet/bass/contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon, Wagner tuba/French horn, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani/percussion, percussion, harp, prepared piano, strings ( Strings may be augmented to 6-6-6-6-4.

Duration: 95 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Virtuosic writing across all instruments and singers

Contents note: 1. Song of the Fallen Heroes -- 2. Lacrimosa dies illa -- 3. Ship of the Universe -- 4. Tuba, mirum spargens sonum -- 5. A Bar, Soldiers and Death -- 6. Quantus tremor est futurus -- 7. The Gale -- 8. Quem patronum rogaturus, cum vix justus sit securus? -- 9. Deathsquad Doctor -- 10. The sea has neither swans nor bedrooms -- 11. Atlantica -- 12. In paradisum deducant te Angeli -- 13. Woman and Ship -- 14. Into nowhere, into no love, into the golden rye -- 15. For I am the sea.

Commission note: The work received the support of Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, Arts Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, City of Melbourne, Robert Salzer Foundation, Sofitel Melbourne, and the Camargo Foundation

First performance: by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Christopher Richardson, Jessica Aszodi, Eric Dudley, Tristram Williams at KURSK: An Oratorio Requiem (Melbourne Recital Centre) on 22 Oct 2011


KURSK: an oratorio requiem (excerpts)
The Making of Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem

Performances of this work

22 Oct 2011: at KURSK: An Oratorio Requiem (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Christopher Richardson, Jessica Aszodi, Eric Dudley, Tristram Williams.

27 Feb 2010: at KURSK (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon).

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.

To post a comment please login.