SydneyChamber Choir & Sam Allchurch
Australian composer Joseph Twist

Congratulations to the Sydney Chamber Choir for the beautiful ‘Garden of the Soul’ concert held at the acoustically brilliant Independent Theatre last  Saturday 20th November, 2021.

The first three pieces were from the Renaissance era (Jacobus Clemens non Papa, Monteverdi, Tomas de Victoria). Then the intensity mounted with three Benjamin Britten hymns (Rosa Mystica, Hymn to the Virgin, Hymn to St Cecilia which featured soloists Megan Cronin, Josephine Gibson, Alison Lockhart and Richard Sanchez).

Then came the long anticipated premiere of composer Joseph Twist’s An Australian Song Cycle, accompanied by Anthea Cottee on the cello and pianist Jem Harding. These eight engaging songs are each based on an Australian poem (Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Judith Wright, Michael Leunig, Peter Skrzynecki, Les Murray, Jack Twist and Oodgeroo Noonuccal). The choir and the audience easily imagined the birds squawking and swooping around the theatre with Leunig’s ‘Magpie’’ and of Skrzynecki’s ‘Lorikeets’. An Australian Song Cycle is a colourful celebration of our poets, our birds and our landscape.

The work was commissioned by the choir with generous support of the Maury family. Joseph Twist is one of the most ‘in demand’ composers in Australia and abroad. His music crosses genres including ancient vocal music, opera, contemporary orchestral, jazz, musical theatre and cabaret. 

The Sydney Chamber Choir is committed to developing future generations of choral singers and composers. Its performances have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 102.5, and its CD recordings are available on the ABC Classics and Tall Poppies labels. 

While the small choir sings as one, each of the 28 singers seems to have his or her own personality, enjoying the music and dressing individually. Soprano Ria Andriani is a Braille specialist by day, a musician by night and writes in her spare time. She has been published in the Guardian Australia and Overland online magazine. Her piece ‘Seeing through perspective: a blind tourist’s guide to art’ was shortlisted for the  Woollahra Digital Literary Award.

Conductor Sam Allchurch is the Artistic Director of the Sydney Chamber Choir. He is also Associate Artistic Director at Gondwana Choirs and Director of Music at Christ Church St Laurence. 

The choir’s president and bass singer is Christopher Matthies. Congratulations to all involved in this outstanding performance.

Featured image : Sam Allchurch