'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

25 April 2013

Anzac Day and War Requiem

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. A day when the country remembers the fallen in the dreadful wars in which we have invested our beautiful youth. Unlike most patriotic military memorials this date marks the first great military action taken by Australian and New Zealand troops in the First World War in which we suffered badly. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) continues to be the name given to our forces 'The Anzacs'. They landed on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey at dawn on the 25th April 1915 and there were huge losses and it is at Dawn that each city and town marks this anniversary. We are not celebrating a great victory but remembering the loss of life. 1.38% of the Australian population died in WWI which is 10 times the proportion of deaths of United States troops, just to put it in perspective. Someone today remarked that as the last of the original Anzacs have passed and others now join the increasingly popular city march perhaps it will eventually be the biggest peace march in the country.
This is Anzac Cove in Turkey to where tens of thousands of Australians make pilgrimage and today the ceremonies include official representatives from our friends the Turkish Government and Military who also remember their dead and ours.
Then above and now below
The War Requiem
Today I attended a brilliant and huge performance of Benjamin Britten's epic WAR REQUIEM. Set to the Latin text of the mass for the dead it incorporates telling and harrowing excerpts of the poems of Wilfred Owen the great War Poet who was killed 7 days before the Armistice and whose evocative poems have been adopted by the Anti War Movement. Britten and his life long love and partner Peter Pears were both pacifists.
Above is Britten Conducting the War Requiem in Germany with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Peter Pears.
Todays performance bought both stunning local and international super talents together.
Conducted by Nicholas Braithwaite 
Soprano -  Rebecca Cassidy
Tenor - Gregory Massingham
Baritone - Shaun Brown
Brisbane Chorale
Queensland Conservatorium Chorus
Young Conservatorium Children's Chorus
War Requiem Chamber Orchestra
Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra
Wilfred Owen
above is the first poem sung in the Requiem.
Goose bumps ran up and down my body so often throughout the performance today and at one astounding and overwhelming crescendo I burst into tears. My life is so much better for having been to there. I have adored the work for decades but this was the first time I had seen and heard it live.
The powerful and shattering Sanctus from a live performance of The War Requiem in the Albert Hall 1993.

A clip for the almighty 1988 film by Derek Jarman of the War Requiem with the divine Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...