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Cantata Memoria commemorates the Aberfan tragedy of 21 October 1966. It was on this day that 116 children and 28 adults perished when a coal spoil tip enveloped Pantglas Junior School together with some houses in Aberfan, South Wales. Karl Jenkins was 22 and in the first term at the Royal Academy of Music at the time; inevitably the disaster had a massive impact on him and millions of others. He was commissioned to compose a work to commemorate the 50th anniversary alongside the brilliant Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood who wrote the libretto.
Twenty-two Gisborne Singers took up the offer to be part of the North American premiere in Carnegie Hall, New York in January 2017. Karl Jenkins work was not new to our choir having performed his The Armed Man (a Mass for Peace) in 2015. Thus preparing and performing the Australian Premier of Cantata Memoria is fitting. It’s worth mentioning that the Gisborne Singers have developed a fine reputation for the quality of their recent performances. One of our professional soloists said after a concert: “Thanks again for having me; I honestly think the Gisborne Singers are the finest amateur choir I’ve heard in Australia: a very impressive sound.”
The music is accessible, memorable and truly moving. It uses repetition effectively and borrows appropriately from other musical sources, and the final result is riveting. As in Jenkins’ other works, it shows a truly Jenkins stamp throughout.
The choir will combine with a professional orchestra, a local children’s choir and two soloists. Musical Director Stephen Brockman is delighted to announce that our soprano soloist is a young local former choir member, Rosemary Cocklin, who is returning for her first solo performance with us. The baritone soloist is long time favourite Manfred Pohlenz.
Bookings through Trybooking are easiest via the link on our website: www.gisbornesingers.org. where you will find more background on the story and music under the “News” tab. For help with bookings: Robert on 03 5428 7033.