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Beach burial, op.78 : for choir and orchestra

by Andrew Schultz (2009)

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Beach burial


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Beach burial / Andrew Schultz

Library shelf no. CD 2081 [Available for loan]

Beach burial


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Beach burial : for choir and orchestra / Andrew Schultz

Library shelf no. Q 782.554/SCH 7 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (3 more)  

Work Overview

There are three striking images in Ken Slessor's great World War Two poem Beach Burial that I have tried to capture and develop in music. The first is the image, both tranquil and deeply disturbing, of the dead bodies of sailors washed ashore at first light after a sea battle. The second image is the ominous, almost bitter, impression of the heavy tread of feet and driven stakes of driftwood as the bodies are buried in the sand. And then the final, forlorn image of makeshift epitaphs to the unknown washed away as the natural world overwhelms the signs of the asinine conflicts of humans at war. The calm stillness of Slessor's observation seems to be at odds with the implicit horror of the scene. Perhaps this is because the atmosphere in his seascape is heavy with salt and humidity as if this were a familiar and comfortable Australian beach rather than the distant and brutal strand at El Alamein in The Gulf of Arabs.

— Andrew Schultz, March 2009

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: SATB choir, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, bassoon, contrabassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, timpani, strings.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

First performance: by Brett Weymark, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra at War and Peace (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall) on 1 Nov 2009

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2011 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral Finalist Andrew Schultz


Article: Music and the meaning of water
by Andrew Schultz
Naxos Musicology International (2 May 2020)

Resonate article: Art Music Awards 2011 - finalists announced by Australian Music Centre


Performances of this work

25 Apr 2010: at Brisbane Concert Choir at St Andrews (St Andrew's Church, Brisbane City). Featuring Sinfonia of St Andrew's, Debra Shearer-DiriƩ, Monique Latemore, Shaun Brown, Brisbane Concert Choir.

1 Nov 2009: at War and Peace (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra, Brett Weymark.

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