Eternity was commissioned for performance on 30th July, 2000, by the Combined Sydney College Choirs and Orchestra, at the “Millennium Concert”, St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Scored for SATB choir, organ and orchestra, the work comprises three movements with two short interludes.
The first movement is entitled “Deep in the silent centuries”. It draws its text from Roland Robinson’s poem “The Sleeping Bush”. Finding himself gone back to a time and place, with the rocks and the trees, deep in the silent centuries, the poet stands listening and wondering by what track he has come.
Before the second movement commences, the pipe organ introduces the first interlude: a setting of Francis Webb’s words: “Pure in spotless beauty burning, One more leaf is softly turning…”
The second movement of the work, entitled “Lest we forget”, juxtaposes two texts: “Communio” from the Latin Requiem Mass and the words “Lest we forget”.
The pipe organ and choir return for the second interlude: “… One more goal for human yearning, One more page of life to fold.”
The final movement is called “A Sunrise”. It is a setting of Francis Webb’s early poem of the same name, which depicts the birth of a day: from the unfurling of the faint seraphic banner to the arising of the fiery king.
I would like to acknowledge Roland Robinson’s publisher, HarperCollins, for permission to set text from “The Sleeping Bush”. I also thank Francis Webb’s sisters for granting me permission to set “A Sunrise”.