This blog offers an Australian perspective on faith, religion and spirituality. It invites you to join the joys and hope, the grief and anguish of a middle aged Aussie Catholic.
The material reflects my interest in global as well as local issues.My perspective is probably more quirky than orthodox.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Ailan Kores Webcast
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church Thursday Island
Great music and new technology merged in a successful presentation of the Ailan Kores webcast from Thursday Island on the first Sunday of the Queensland Music Festival. In Brisbane, I joined a good crowd who comfortably filled the theatre at the Gallery of Modern Art. The technology had its moments, but the warmth and enthusiasm of the people of the Torres Strait Islands was evident in the intimacy we had from great camera shots.
This religious heritage has nurtured a singing tradition that continues to be practiced by a new generation of the Youth Choir who opened the performance under the direction of Alison Rogers. The kids were natural and the camera captured moments that only young people can provide as they take centre stage in their community.
The formal welcome to the concert was done in great North Queensland style with guests including the Governor,Penelope Wensly, and QMF Artistic Director Deborah Conway. My latent tribal Catholicism was evident when I went into auto cue and joined Bishop Saibo Mabo who began a prayer with the sign of the cross.
The concert presented popular pieces including Cygnet Reu’sGreen White and Blue, as well as local hymns in the powerful presentation of Bach’s St John’s Passion. You can hear a sample track of one of the local hymns, Ngapaw UzarE here.
The extraordinary performance of Damien Barbeler’s The Temptations of Christ has created a new benchmark in Australian religious music. Barbeler has not simply written a new hymn. He has, in fact, given us a new hermeneutic or interpretation of this classic story form the Christian Biblical texts. Gregory Moore presented an alluring and attractive face of Satan, far from the popular stereotype. The use of instrumental music to personify nature in this story was haunting and the voice of Jesus in the choral chants of Ailan Kores gave a richness to the drama of this incident that is often lost in preaching.
The final item on the program, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, lifted the proverbial roof from Thursday Island to GOMA. In fact, I was pretty impressed that some members of the audience at GOMA stood and sang with full voice for the whole piece.
A couple of encores stamped the concert as a popular event, and we were sent home with the echoes of a vespers hymn to bless our sleeping.
The best comments on Ailan Kores come from the performers and this blog by Silvana captures the magic of the evening in word and images. Thanks Silvana for posting your reflection!
The program notes provided for those of us at GOMA were a useful reference, including translations of the adaptation of Bach’s St John’s Passion and historical notes for the other pieces.
One of the questions that has appeared on the webcast site asks whether the concert will be available as a recording for those who missed it. I suggest we all endorse the call for a recording and perhaps some YouTube clips to celebrate this wonderful musical celebration.