By Brendan Rees
The Cranbourne Chorale thrived in their recent performance in a world premiere concert at Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.
Twenty-four members of the Cranbourne Chorale were one of 17 choirs across Victoria who featured in a new Australian musical work, PEACE – A Cantata for John Monash at Melbourne Arts Centre, Hamer Hall on Saturday 9 September.
The Cranbourne Chorale were part of a 200-strong choir with singers, an orchestra and soloists of all ages from around the state.
Media assistant for the John Monash PEACE cantata Ben Glover said the concert, which had been seven years in the making was a “great success” and left the audience captivated.
“The Cranbourne Chorale is a community choir, so they revelled in the opportunity to perform in a coalition choir of over 200 singers alongside a professional orchestra and vocal soloists,” he said.
“They had a great sense of achievement in being able to perform in a large-scale concert which was very distinct from their regular performance contexts.”
He said the Cranbourne chorale diligently rehearsed for the event with their director Anne Credlin, and also internationally-renowned conductor and the composer of PEACE Dr David Kram.
Musical director Anne Credlin was honoured to be involved: “It’s such a wonderful experience for the choristers.”
John Monash (1865-1931) was born and raised in Victoria, and was Australia’s most famous military commander of WWI. He planned the Allied attack at the Battle of Amiens in northern France August 1918, which led to the end of the war. British, Australian and Canadian troops led the offensive.
Mr Kram said John Monash was an inspiring man: “It wasn’t hard to come up with the musical themes and colours to express this great man’s life.
“I’ve long been a fan of John Monash and as a musician it felt natural to use colours of sound, to illustrate significant events of his life. Kevin’s poem inspired me to compose PEACE as an opera, but gradually the writing took the form of a cantata; an en-masse piece for multiple soloists, choirs and orchestra, together representing the men, women and children from the places he lived in Melbourne and regional Victoria,” Mr Kram said.
“Monash and Melbourne are intertwined – everywhere you go in in this city you see glimpses of the great man – it’s where he lived and where his legacy lives on. We wouldn’t want the premiere of this monumental piece to be held anywhere else.”
Next year is the 100th anniversary of the battle and the piece will be performed in Amiens, France, on the centenary of the event.