Concert in honour of Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag
Thursday 30 October 2014, 7pm
at the German Lutheran Trinity Church, East Melbourne
With the Australian Chamber Choir (conductor: Douglas Lawrence) and Jennifer Chou (organ)
Tonight’s program comprises composers from six European countries plus Australia, stretching over a period of more than 400 years.
We begin with well-known organ works by J.S. Bach (Bach’s music was nourished by the past and feeds the future): Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541, a piece described as ‘raising the spirits infallibly’ followed by BWV 667 as one of the famous 18 Leipzig chorales.
Palestrina had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony.
Brenton Broadstock wrote both the words and music of I Had a dream in memory of his colleague, Michale Easton. Easton tragically died of a heart attack at the age of 52. He was one of Australia's best known composers, prolific and performed widely in Australia and internationally.
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s oratorio Elijah was frequently performed by the early Melbourne Liedertafel societies in the 19th century.
Czech composer Petr Eben’s Musica Dominicalis (Sunday Music) is a 4-movement work, a sort of symphony for the organ, on which Eben wrote: “I wrote Musica Dominicalis in 1957 during the communist regime. It was a very complex time,. At that time it was not allowed in our country to arrange concerts in the churches. It was forbidden because they thought that it would make people meet in the church – not only for concerts. …” “Moto ostinato”, the title of the third movement, is a battle between Man and Evil, the rhythm in the final section can be compared to the sound of the machine guns killing the innocents. The final two bars is the climax of the piece, as if the final sound of the fighting, leaving not a soul alive on the battlefield. The whole piece is like an apocalyptic mission.
Blind French composer Jean Langlais was one of the most significant organ composers and performers of his century. Chant de Paix (Song of Peace) is a short piece that has found its way into countless recital programs as a quiet piece. It is the very simplicity of the tranquil mood of the piece that makes it one of Langlais's most popular works.
Dietrich Buxtehude’s Toccata is a typical composition of the North German School “stylus fantasticus”. J.S. Bach’s admiration of Dietrich Buxtehude is well known.
Brett Dean was born and educated in Melbourne. Still a young man, he was appointed first viola with the Berlin Philharmonic. He has moved back to Melbourne and enjoys a high profile with a reputation for beautifully crafted, adventurous and indeed, challenging compositions. Now comes the Dawn was composed in 2007 for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. Brett also was commissioned a work in the Lutheran Cantata tradition to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Thomanerchor Leipzig. The Annunciation was premiered at St. Thomas Leipzig in Christmas services in 2012.O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht BWV 118, is a church motet/cantata composed by J.S. Bach intended for a funeral.
Anton Bruckner’s graduale Christus factus est is a prime example of the way that he gradually develops harmonic tension to the words: Christ became obedient for us, even unto death, death upon the cross. Because of this, God raised him and bestowed on him the name which is above all names.
The Australian Chamber Choir was founded by its current director, Douglas Lawrence in 2007. In July that year, the choir already undertook a 20-concert tour to Europe to great acclaim. This meteoric rise to international success was largely due to the 24 years Douglas Lawrence worked as director of the Choir of Ormond College, University of Melbourne. The Australian Chamber Choir draws upon a large pool of elite singers and is open to talented singers of all backgrounds. The performance of new Australian compositions in Europe and Australia has become a hallmark of the Australian Chamber Choir. The CD ‘Bach Motets’ was praised with these words: ‘The ACC has developed a distinctive sound and the German is impeccable.’ Many of their performances were also recorded and broadcasted by ABC Classic FM.. In 2011 the ACC gave their first concert at St Thomas’s Leipzig to enthusiastic acclaim resulting in an invitation for another successful concert in 2013. Both tours in 2011 and 2013 included countries like Germany, Denmark and Poland. In 2015 the Choir will undertake its next European tour performing in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.
Jennifer Chou is Director of Music at Toorak Uniting Church (Melbourne). Since residing in Australia in 2004, she has firmly established herself as a recitalist at home and abroad. Born in Hong Kong she graduated from the Chinese University in organ performance. Scholarships and further studies brought her to Northwestern University (USA), the Conservatoire National de Région de Rueil-Malmaison in Paris and – specialising in French baroque and North German repertoire – to the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de Musique et Danse in Toulouse. In Melbourne Jennifer debuted at the famous Melbourne Town Hall organ and added countless recitals throughout Australia. Overseas, Jennifer has appeared as solo recitalist in venues and cathedrals; in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. Her performances have also been recorded and broadcasted nationally. Jennifer is also a sought after organ teacher and an accredited Suzuki Organ Teacher.
With special thanks to