This Land - the CD
The Chamber Choir’s introduction to the music of Iain Grandage was with a performance of Bush Songs in the mid 1990’s. The singers had an instant affinity with the music. The work was also a cappella, which was in line with most of the choir’s other repertoire. Here was a composer writing with a freshness of approach, especially in regards to textures and timbres, with eminently singable vocal lines well constructed and with a wonderful sense of architecture in the music.
The 1996 International Federation for Choral Music Fourth World Symposium was held in Sydney. I recall at that Symposium a buzz around the performance of a new work by Iain: Hush: on the death of a bush church. Shortly after the Symposium the Chamber Choir learnt this work, which provided one of the most memorable performances I have ever had the privilege of conducting. The scene was set within the walls of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (UK) in 2000. The Choir was to perform a dusk recital in the magnificent acoustic of that building. As we commenced the recital, we found ourselves bathed in sunset colours from the glorious stained-glass windows of the Cathedral. No-one had anticipated the effect of the acoustic on the music. I had a sense the singers collectively realised that they were in a magical place, and that this performance was to be truly memorable. Likewise our performance of Hush: on the death of a bush church had a sense of inevitability about it where all elements were combining to create a performance that was ‘in the zone’. These performances are on the Choir’s second album: Journey of Celebration.
From that moment on, a special bond was created within the Choir which exists to this current day. What could be more obvious for us than to make a CD of Iain’s choral works, which we love performing so dearly and which captivate audiences from around the world?
This CD was recorded in 2009 in the Harold Lobb Concert Hall at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music. We were very fortunate to have Iain with us during our rehearsals and the first recording session. It was an inspiring and happy process for all, whereby we gained first-hand insights into the compositional and performance styles of the music. .
We hope that you will share that joy with us in listening to the disc.
Dr Philip Matthias