An Australian War Requiem

As one travels through the idyllic-countryside of… the Somme, suddenly in the midst of a cornfield there is a cemetery with row upon row of white headstones… From a distance a cross can often be discerned on the horizon rising up to the heavens and it is inconceivable, beyond comprehension that once, such a gentle and beautiful landscape was a quagmire, a sea of mud, trenches, craters, a place where the stench of death was all around.

I cannot forget the cemetery just outside of Villers-Brettoneux. Set on a gentle slope and with a cold wind blowing in the early morning light, I was profoundly moved and inspired by the sounds, the images which invoked a haunting music.

– Christopher Bowen OAM –
Premiere of An Australian War Requiem

In 1914 the world was swept up in the fiery cataclysm of war, enduring sacrifice and loss on an inconceivable scale.

To commemorate the centenary of the Great War—the war to end all wars— the Sydney University Graduate Choir commissioned Music Director Christopher Bowen OAM to compose An Australian War Requiem.

The work premiered on August 10th 2014 in a performance given at the Sydney Town Hall which was acclaimed by critics and audience alike. Since then it has been broadcast nationally on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and 3MBS FM. A further performance took place on Armistice Day, November 11th 2018 at the Sydney Town Hall.

An Australian War Requiem

Music by Christopher Bowen
Text by Pamela Traynor
Tableau 1: The Horror of War
Those Heroes That Shed Their Blood
Voices of the Dead
Stabat Mater
Death March
We Wonder When
When Men Open Their Hearts
Oh Mother (Reprise)
Cuius Animam
Tableau 2: Sons and Mothers
O Quam Tristis
Mother, It Is Now Midnight
Quis Est Homo
How I Pity the Women in This War
How Your Dear Heart Has Ached
Tableau 3: Reflections on Loss
Pro Peccatis Suae Gentis
Battle Music
Soon After He Came to Us
Vidit Suum Dulcem Natum
The Last Duty Was Performed
Dying But In Ev'ry Stir
I See So Much of Death
Eia Mater, Fons Amoris
The Losses of This War Are Lamentable
The Last Post
Lament of the Lone Piper