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Hamilton Civic Choir Presents Reflections of War Concert

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  • Sat 23 Aug ’14, 7:30pm – 9:30pm


St Peter's Cathedral, 51 Victoria St, Hamilton


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $25.00
  • Concession (if brought from Civic Choir members): $20.00
  • Student Rush: $10.00
  • Children Under 13: $0.00

The expertise of renowned English organist Myles Hartley will be utilized to the full to recreate some impressions of war through the pedals, keys and pipes of the St. Peter’s Cathedral organ in the Hamilton Civic Choir’s next concert. With the theme “Reflections of War” this concert on August 23rd is one of many special events this year which commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. However, the program planned by Dr Rachael Griffiths-Hughes, the choir’s Musical Director, will reflect thoughts, experiences and memories of wars in many different countries and in all eras, including modern times.

The concert will include excerpts from Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, written in 1796 at the time of Austria’s mobilisation after the French Revolution, and Kodaly’s Missa Brevis, completed in 1945 during the occupation of Budapest by German forces. The first performance of Kodaly’s Mass took place in the cloak room of the Budapest Opera House with the sound of guns firing and bombs falling in the streets outside adding a bizarre accompaniment to the score.

To represent the English experience Rachael has chosen two of the much loved Songs of Farewell written by C.H Parry after WW1, and excerpts from Carl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, a monumental work commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum for the Millennium celebrations and dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo crisis.

Two moving works by Canadian composers are based on themes of loss and remembrance. The text of Stephen Chatman’s In Flanders Fields is a poem written during the battle of Ypres in WW1 and still used in Canadian Remembrance Day ceremonies, while Eleanor Daley’s In Remembrance, based on an anonymous poem, won the Canadian National Choral Award for Outstanding Composition in 1994. Rachael believes that this will be the first NZ performance of these two beautiful choral works.

The Kiwi connection with wars in distant lands is featured in Vernon Griffiths’ Peace and War, composed for Anzac Day in 1952 for the Royal Christchurch Musical Society and the Woolston Brass Band. Griffiths was English and served in France during WW1. In 1927 he emigrated to NZ and is credited with establishing music in New Zealand schools, before being appointed Professor of Music at Canterbury University.

A set of three songs written by French composer Maurice Ravel in 1914 as he waited to be called up to the army may, on the surface, sound rather frivolous but they all contain veiled comments on the events affecting the community at the time. Hamilton soprano Beverley Pullon will feature as soloist in one of these songs, and also in the Haydn Mass. Beverley is well-known to audiences both locally and further afield. She has starred in several operas written by David Griffiths, of the Waikato University’s Music Department and has also recently become the first student to be awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the university. Beverley has won many competitions and had lead roles with opera companies throughout New Zealand and overseas, and is currently studying with Dame Malvina Major.

Myles Hartley moved to New Zealand in 2001 from the UK where he played the organ is some prestigious and historic places. He spent a year as Organ scholar at Windsor Castle chapel. Before coming to this country he was Director of Music at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, organist of Campion Hall, Oxford, one of the two Ceremonial Organists at the University, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He is now much in demand as a free-lance accompanist to choirs, ensembles and soloists throughout this country and is the organist at St. Cuthbert’s College, Auckland. Other than music, Myles lists cooking and conjuring as personal interests, and says he “sometimes does both at the same time”!

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