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Sydney Philharmonia Choirs | Wonder

Photography by John Feely



Childhood is a fleeting, fragile thing. It’s a time of joy but can so easily be touched by tragedy. Whether you have children of your own or simply remember your own childhood, you’ll know the earnestness and the innocence, the sheer magic, the love and the sorrow. And for this concert with the VOX young adult choir, Elizabeth Scott brings together exquisite music that captures that fragility and wonder.

Anchoring the program are songs of loss: the sombre intensity of Nigel Westlake’s Requiem for his son Eli, James MacMillan’s tender prayer in memory of the children killed in the Dunblane massacre, and Eric Whitacre’s desperately sad When David Heard, dedicated to a friend who’d lost a son. This music becomes even more poignant when sung by young voices, and yet there is solace and consolation in the luminous beauty of their sound.

But there’s joy and humour too. John Rutter pays homage to the world of children with nursery rhymes and nonsense poems. And there are highlights from Martin Wesley-Smith’s witty, environmentally aware Who Killed Cock Robin, possibly the only contemporary Australian classical work that’s been known to inspire impromptu sing-alongs! And to end, music by Sting and Stevie Wonder’s song celebrating the birth of a daughter.

The themes are timeless but this is a concert for today – music by living composers to showcase the beauty and raw emotional power of voices in harmony.

You might want to bring your tissues.

Saturday 23 March at 5pm
Sunday 24 March at 2pm
Sydney Opera House Utzon Room

Nigel WESTLAKE Nasce la gioia mia (My joy is born)
Karl JENKINS And the Mother did weep
James MACMILLAN A Child’s Prayer
John RUTTER Five Childhood Lyrics
Martin WESLEY-SMITH Who Stopped the Rain?
Martin WESLEY-SMITH Highlights from Who Killed Cock Robin?
Eric WHITACRE When David Heard
STING Fragile (arr. Carl Crossin)
Stevie WONDER Isn’t She Lovely (arr. The Idea of North)
Ella MACENS Neviens Putniņš
Eriks ESENVALDS Only in Sleep

Elizabeth Scott conductor

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