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Choral scenes : a work for speakers, chorus and instruments

by Helen Gifford (1999)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by John McCaughey, Astra Choir, Moyra O'Byrne, Mardi McSullea, Craig Hill, Paul Kopetz, Rosanne Hunt, David Martin, Kim Bastin, John Arcaro, Robert Cossom, Graeme Leak, Helen Gifford from the CD Choral scenes

Choral scenes


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Work Details

Year: 1999

Instrumentation: SATB choir, male speakers, flute/piccolo, clarinet/bass clarinet, bass tuba in F, cello/mandolin/guitar, small organ or synthesiser, percussion (2 players), (sopranos and altos play angklung in one section).

Duration: 45 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Contents note: And some there be / Ecclesiasticus -- Vox mortuorum, nox pertpetua (Latin phrase) -- The dead / René Arcos -- Wache (Guard duty) / August Stramm -- Exposure / Wilfred Owen -- For all we have and are / Rudyard Kipling -- The trenches / Frederic Manning -- Counter-attack / Siegfried Sassoon -- In Flanders fields / John McRae -- Grotesque with 2 soldiers' songs & Chorale Der du bist drei / Frederic Manning -- Lazarett (Clearing station) / Wilhelm Klemm -- Relève (Relief) / Charles Vildrac -- Third Ypres / Edmund Blunden -- For the fallen / Laurence Binyon -- Shadow / Guillaume Apollinaire -- The farmer remembers the Somme / Vance Palmer -- Adieu, the years are a broken song / anon. Australian.

Dedication note: Dedicated to the war dead, who are not able to speak to future generations

Commission note: Commissioned by Astra Chamber Music Society with funds provided by Australia Council.

Text is by poets, most of whom fought in World War I, including Guillaume Apollinaire, René Arcos, Laurence Binyon, Edmund Blunden, Rudyard Kipling, Wilhelm Klemm, Frederic Manning, John McRae, Wilfred Owen, Vance Palmer, Siegfried Sassoon, August Stramm and Charles Vildrac.

Different instrumentation for each song, and some songs are choir a cappella or have speaker and instruments only.


Resonate article: Helen Gifford: still writing, still modernist and still brilliant by Rosalind Appleby

Resonate article: Helen Gifford - war, craft, and the making of a modernist composer by Australian Music Centre


Performances of this work

17 Apr 2016: at ASTRA: 1926/2016 (Church of All Nations). Featuring Astra Choir, John McCaughey.

19 Apr 2015: at Helen Gifford at 80 (Church of All Nations). Featuring Astra Choir, John McCaughey.

11 Sep 99: St. Kilda Town Hall, Melbourne. Featuring Craig Hill, Paul Kopetz, Rosanne Hunt, David Martin, John McCaughey, John Arcaro, Robert Cossom, Graeme Leak, Helen Gifford, Kim Bastin, Astra Choir, Moyra O'Byrne, Mardi McSullea.

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