‘Lux Aeterna’ – ‘eternal light’ – the struggle of light and darkness: an ancient concept, inspiring music-making for centuries. The new album from Australian composer Paul Stanhope brings this search for light into the present day, setting texts from across cultures and ages: Arabic poetry, Old Testament verses, liturgical chants, and present-day words from Australia and South America. By turns elegiac and urgent, serene and rapturous, Lux Aeterna lives out themes of optimism, humanity and empathy.
Stanhope’s music is recorded here with the choir he has collaborated with over the past decade, Sydney Chamber Choir, resulting in a uniquely satisfying depth of understanding of Stanhope’s musical language and the text which he sets.
Paul Stanhope is an award-winning Sydney-based composer, former Musical Director of Sydney Chamber Choir and currently a Senior Lecturer in Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. Previous releases on the ABC Classics label include Songs for the Shadowland – an album of song cycles for combinations of voices and instruments.
Formed in 1975, Sydney Chamber Choir, under founding director Nicholas Routley, quickly established itself among Australia’s finest performers of Renaissance choral music, especially the works of Josquin des Prez. The Choir was also a pioneer in revitalising performances of Baroque masterpieces by Bach and Handel. At the same time, it began a program of commissioning new music from Australian composers – a tradition which flourished under the leadership of the Choir’s second Musical Director, Paul Stanhope, and continues to the present day, with 20 world premieres in the past ten years.
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1. Fiant Luminaria 2. Agnus Dei / Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep 3. Lux Aeterna 4. Ubi Caritas 5. Lament to Saint Cecilia 6. The Land Is Healed. Ban.garay! Exile Lamentations – Three Choruses 7. Eykhah 8. Deserts of Exile 9. Lament 10. Cherubic Hymn