Project Description

Sound byte

Performers: Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir (Neil McEwan, cond.) with soloists Jenny Liu (sop.) & Alexander Knight (bar.) @ Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Composer’s Note

Communion of Reparation (for Our Lady of Sorrows) was commissioned by Rev. Dr Arthur E. Bridge on behalf of Ars Musica Australis, in commemoration of the Centenary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The work is based upon a poem of the same name by Sister Mary Julian Baird, RSM, of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

In three verses, the poet describes the deep sorrow felt by Jesus’ mother, Mary, upon the occasion of her son’s crucifixion. Mary’s grief is likened to a great and profound sea:

… endless to sight
and deep beyond the sounding
of our shallow hearts …

My setting of the poem commences with an alto drone, representing the sea extending into the distance. Against the drone, a melody of “fish flashes” is heard, their sound arising from the soprano, tenor and bass parts. As in my earlier choral work, Tides of Ocean, the “fish flashes” are intended to evoke something of the colour and sound of the sea. In this setting of Sister Mary’s poem, they are intended also as an allusion to the “Jesus fish” (ichthus), a popular Christian symbol.

I have set the verses of Sister Mary’s poem in a more-or-less strophic fashion. The first and second verses employ the soprano and baritone soloists, respectively. Accompanied by the choir, they sing of Mary’s grief, asking “How can we comfort thee?” and “What comfort can we bring?”

During the work, the soprano, alto and tenor parts are frequently scored in close harmony. The bass voices provide pizzicato-like rhythmic impetus, singing individual syllables and words sourced from the opening lines of the medieval Latin poem, Stabat mater, as well as from Sister Mary’s poem.

My setting of the third verse presents the soprano and baritone soloists in octaves and close harmony. In this final verse, it is revealed that comfort comes to Mary by way of “the infinite Heart of God alone”. Like a frame for the work, the “fish flashes” heard in the opening bars return in the final, fading moments of the piece.

I thank Father Arthur E. Bridge for commissioning the work and gratefully acknowledge the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas for kindly granting me permission to set music to Sister Mary Julian Baird’s poem. I also thank Dr Neil McEwan and the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir for affording the work its premiere performance.

Matthew Orlovich,
Composer.

Known Performances

globe-detailflag-of-AustraliaSATURDAY 27TH AUGUST, 2016
Performed by Brisbane Chamber Choir, with Kathryn Morton (soprano) & Timothy Grantham (baritone), dir. by Graeme Morton @ St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD, Australia + CD Launch (Tall Poppies TP239)

SUNDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2012
Performed by Cantores (Munich), directed by Tobias Debold @ Himmelfahrtskirche, München, Germany.

TUESDAY 28TH AUGUST, 2012
Performed by Cantores (Munich), directed by Tobias Debold @ Accademia di montegral, 55100 Ponte a Moriano, Lucca, Italy.

flag-of-AustraliaSUNDAY 5TH AUGUST,2012
Performed by Brisbane Chamber Choir, directed by Graeme Morton @ 2012 Brisbane Contemporary Church Music Festival, St Johns Cathedral, 373 Ann Street, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

flag-of-AustraliaSATURDAY 4TH AUGUST, 2012
Performed by Brisbane Chamber Choir, directed by Graeme Morton @ St Mark’s Church, Main Street, Buderim, QLD, Australia.

flag-of-AustraliaSATURDAY 28TH JULY, 2012
Performed by Brisbane Chamber Choir, directed by Graeme Morton @ St Luke’s Church, Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia.

SATURDAY 14TH JULY, 2012
European Tour – Performed by Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir, directed by Dr Neil McEwan @ Würzburg Cathedral, Bavaria, Germany.

flag-of-AustraliaSUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER, 2011
Performed by Singers of St Laurence, conducted by Dr Neil McEwan @ Christ Church St Laurence, 812 George Street, Railway Square, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

SATURDAY 14 AUGUST, 2010
ABC Classic FM Broadcast: ‘Saturday Session’.
Performed by Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir, with soloists Jenny Liu (soprano) and Alexander Knight (baritone), directed by Dr Neil McEwan @ Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

flag-of-AustraliaMONDAY 24 MAY, 2010 (World Premiere Performance)
Commissioned by Ars Musica Australis in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Performed by Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir, with soloists Jenny Liu (soprano) and Alexander Knight (baritone), directed by Dr Neil McEwan @ Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Score sample: "Communion of Reparation (for Our Lady of Sorrows) by Matthew Orlovich.

Communion of Reparation (for Our Lady of Sorrows)
for a cappella 
SATB choir + soloists (soprano voice and baritone voice)

PDF score and Reprographic Licenses
available now!

TITLE:
Communion of Reparation (for Our Lady of Sorrows)

DATE OF COMPOSITION:
2010

COMMISSIONED BY:
Rev. Dr Arthur E. Bridge on behalf of Ars Musica Australis, in commemoration of the Centenary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

SCORED FOR:
A cappella SATB choir, with soloists (soprano and baritone).

TEXT BY:
Sister Mary Julian Baird, RSM.

DURATION:
c. 7 minutes

WORLD PREMIERE:
24 May, 2010 – Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir (Neil McEwan, cond.) with soloists Jenny Liu (sop.) & Alexander Knight (bar.) @ Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

PUBLISHER:
Matthew Orlovich

ISMN:
tbc

CD cover: Mass of the Dreaming (Tall Poppies 239)

CD title: Mass of the Dreaming
Released: 2016
Available from: Tall Poppies

REVIEW
Mass of the Dreaming (CD)
Brisbane Chamber Choir
Tall Poppies

4.5 stars

At first hearing, the 10 pieces on this album, billed as “the first recording of Australian sacred choral music to be recorded by an Australian choir”, sound remarkably similar. It’s the sort of glorious sound we have come to expect from the English cathedral tradition: mellifluous, serene, glowing, ruminative and restorative. It’s also the signature sound of this impressive choir, another jewel in Brisbane’s lustrous choral crown. They sing in the rich resonance of St John’s Cathedral, where conductor Graeme Morton has been director of music for many years. This recording captures the reverberant glow of the cathedral and the texts, mostly Latin and liturgical in origin. Much of the music was commissioned by the choir, including the Mass of the Dreaming (2009) by Ross Edwards. More contemplation than celebration, the composer admits, this is a heartfelt and deeply moving work that deserves to be taken up by choirs the world over. Surprisingly, the most advanced-sounding work on the album is also the oldest, the Exultate Dominum (1961) by the 26-year-old Nigel Butterley, its Stravinskian throbbing delivered in perfect rhythmic unison by the 20 young choristers. Pairs of liturgical settings by Andrew Schultz and Stephen Leek call for novel touches, including Tibetan overtone singing. The works of younger composers Joseph Twist and Keren Terpstra indicate talents still in progress, whereas short pieces by Paul Stanhope and Matthew Orlovich are deeply satisfying in their originality as well as their functionality. This is a recording that rewards repeated listening. You don’t need to be a believer in a supreme being. It’s enough to believe in the extraordinary power of music to calm and purify the mind.

Vincent Plush, The Australian

If you would like more information about this score, feel free to email me.
I look forward to hearing from you!