Babylon shutterstock_525376426By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept … As for our harps, we hanged them up upon the trees that are therein. For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, saying “Sing us one of the songs of Sion” “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

Many composers have set this heart-wrenching text, telling of the exile of a people from their homeland. JS Bach sets the poem as a solemn hymn, Palestrina as a multi-voiced motet.

The text is no less potent in the 21st century than it was in 500 BCE. The Australian Chamber Choir has commissioned Australian composers, Tom Henry and Luke Hutton to write new works for this program.

The disruption of the ancient harmony between Australia’s First Peoples and their country, followed by centuries of immigration from every part of the globe, makes dislocation and yearning for lost homeland an abiding theme in Australian art and literature. Yet within our culture, a synthesis of many traditions, Australian artists find fresh and distinctive ways to ‘sing the Lord’s song’.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: An Wasserflüssen Babylon (Chorale BWV 267), Fürchte dich nicht (BWV 228), Ich lasse dich nicht (BWV Anh.159)

GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA: Super flumina Babylonis

New works by TOM HENRY and LUKE HUTTON

HERBERT HOWELLS: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis composed for St Paul’s London

FRANCIS POULENC: Quatre Motets pour un Temps de Pénitence

Preston Thursday 15 June at 11am
Middle Park Sat 17 June at 3pm
Middle Park Sun 18 June at 3pm
Macedon Sat 19 August at 3pm
Geelong Sun 20 August at 3pm
Bowral Sat 26 August at 7.30pm
Sydney Sun 27 August at 2.30pm

ITALY: Rome, Florence, Bergamo
AUSTRIA: Vienna, Klagenfurt, Villach, Stams
GERMANY: Bonn, Darmstadt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Nördlingen, Tübingen, Wangen

 

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