Gloriana turns 25
Little did I think, when I started Gloriana back in 1994 that here we would be, in 2019, celebrating our 25th anniversary. How time has flown. And how far we have come.
There are so many highlights from the last 25 years – but there are four that really stand out in my mind. The first was a pair of performances of Poulenc’s extraordinary Figure Humaine, coupled with the Fauré Requiem. The difficulty of the Poulenc is legendary, and I remember needing nine rehearsals to get it there, but it was absolutely worth the work and a milestone for us.
Not long after this we tackled the Schnittke Choir Concerto – in my opinion, one of the greatest choral works ever written. Before we started rehearsals, I took the score with me on a European holiday and I remember a sleepless night spent studying the work on a train from Budapest to Brașov.
In 2010, we performed Bach’s Mass in B minor for the first time. I remember well the difficulties of trying to get together period oboes, bassoons and trumpets for this performance. But I did find them, even if it meant flying in people from all over the country. I also remember that the soprano soloist was Siobhán Stagg – then just out of Uni but already a formidable talent.
And then there is Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles, which we gave the Melbourne premiere of in 2016. A four-movement work for unaccompanied choir inspired by the Camino de Santiago, Path of Miracles was a riveting and emotional experience and I am thrilled to be revisiting this work in our 2019 season.
There are many people I need to thank for 25 years of Gloriana concerts.
Firstly, the choristers, and all those who work behind the scenes to make our concerts as successful as they are.
Secondly, our audiences. We are incredibly grateful for your support. You are why we can keep doing what we do. Here’s to sharing a splendid 25th anniversary year of music with you.
Andrew Raiskums, Gloriana chamber choir director of music.