New anthem for 150th anniversary of Trinity College Melbourne performed

I was in close-contact isolation, so joined the event via the livestream. Our new ‘Covid normal’ continues to be a strange time!

A new commission for the 150th anniversary of Trinity College, the oldest residential college in Australia, and where I have been tutor, Head of Academic Programs, SCR President, Council member, honorary Faculty and continue to be on the Academic Committee of the Theological School.

The words for the new anthem ‘O lux beata Trinitas’ weave together a Latin hymn by St Ambrose with newly written poetry by me, set to music by Michael Leighton Jones (former Director of Music and frequent collaborator). Performed by the Choir of Trinity College and conducted by Christopher Watson.

The work starts about 30-ish minutes into the video.

An honour to be involved, and thankful for modern technology!

New hymn to commemorate the 175th anniversaries of the Anglican and Catholic Archdioceses of Melbourne

On 6 March, the choir and congregation of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne premiered a new joint commission to commemorate the founding of both the Anglican and Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne. ‘Come Down to Earth’ is a six verse hymn, suitable for congregational use, with music by noted composer Christopher Wilcox SJ and words by Katherine Firth.

(L-R) Christopher Wilcocks SJ (composer), Dr Katherine Firth (lyricist),
The Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe (Dean of Melbourne), Mr Philip Nicholls (Director of Music)

Captivity and freedom in the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, invited talk

On 6 April, I will be giving a talk to the St James’ Insititute, Sydney, on ‘Captivity and Freedom in the Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’ before the Choir of St James’ King Street, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones gives a performance of Philip Moore’s ‘Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’.

Tickets to the talk are still available.

Here’s what I’ll be talking about:

‘Restless, yearning, sick, like a bird in a cage… hungry for colours, for life, for birdsong’.
From ‘Who Am I?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a theologian for our times: an intellectual who worked across barriers of race, denomination and language. For his role in heading an underground seminary, and his work with the resistance against the Nazi regime, he was imprisoned, interned in concentration camps and executed. Bonhoeffer’s writings invite us to ask about what captivity really means, and what it is to have freedom.

And here is a recording of Morning Prayer to whet the appetite:

‘Southern Cantata’ at the Brisbane Contemporary Church Music Festival 2018

Southern Ocean concert

The Brisbane Baroque Chamber Choir, conducted by Graeme Morton, will perform the Shultz/Firth Southern Cantata at the Brisbane Contemporary Church Music Festival, at 2pm on 19 August 2018, in St John’s Cathedral.

“Baroque instruments meet contemporary voices in new Advent cantatas by Australian composers Andrew Schultz and Dan Walker”.

Tickets will be available soon.

‘Anthem for the Feast of Any Healer’ released on ABC Music

0028948169696 Ubi Caritas

ABC Music has released a recording of ‘Anthem for the Feast of Any Healer’, composed by Michael Leighton Jones, and words by Katherine Firth.

The work was commissioned by Dr Jack Best, to commemorate the life of Norman Heatley, the only member of the team who isolated penicillin for medicinal use not honoured with a Nobel Prize. Dr Best saw in Heatley an exemplar of all medical researchers whose work has made such a difference to many lives, but who are themselves un-celebrated. The name, ‘Anthem for the Feast of Any Healer’ highlights this aspect of the Commission.

The work was first performed by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, February 2011, and later by the Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne, on multiple occasions, including the opening of the Melbourne Brain Centre (see a video of the event here).

The new recording, with spoken word performance by the librettist, conducted by the composer, and sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne, is now available for download via the ABC Music website.

Article on Ezra Pound and Musical Modernism published

9781138285651

An article on how Ezra Pound uses ideas and practices of musical modernism to shape his Pisan Cantos. In particular, the chapter debunks the idea that a ‘fugue’ controls the formal aspects of the poem, demonstrating rather the freedom and looseness of the fugue form, and instead demonstrating Pound’s use of small musical moments of coherence through close examination of primary recordings of Pound reciting his poetry, through examination of letters and commentary, and through a deep understanding of early and modern musicology.

The book can be purchased from Routledge, or consulted (in part) on Google Books.