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The Diggers' Requiem - Canberra

  • Llewellyn Hall - ANU School of Music William Herbert Place Canberra, ACT, 2601 Australia (map)

Jointly commissioned by the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Australian Premiere

The Diggers’ Requiem is a moving and beautiful Australian tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. The newly formed Australian War Memorial Orchestra and Choir along with members of the Band of the Royal Military College Duntroon, will be directed by Christopher Latham.


The Requiem represents - in 12 movements - the battles of Fromelles, Pozières, Bapaume, Bullecourt, Villers-Bretonneux, Hamel, Amiens, Péronne and Mont Saint-Quentin, Bellenglise, Montbrehain, Ypres and Passchendaele in Belgium. It refers to death of the Red Baron and the charge of Beersheba in Palestine, which was the last great charge of cavalry. 62,000 bells representing each Australian who died are incorporated into the last movement, Lux Aeterna.

The different movements were written by some of the greatest Australian contemporary composers, as well as the recently discovered Frederick Septimus Kelly, who died at Beaumon-Hamel in 1916. His Lament of the Somme, which evokes the Battle of Pozières, near Albert, was written just two weeks before his death. Elena Kats-Chernin, who finished writing her piece last year, will evoke the battle of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais. Alex Lithgow who wrote the stirring Victoria March, which was played by the Australian Army as it marched into Bapaume in 1917, has his work incorporated into Nigel Westlake’s the Glass Soldier, a piece for trumpet and orchestra. A lone piper plays a lament by Pipe-Major John Grant in the last movement.

This extraordinary symphonic work was devised and curated by Christopher Latham, Artistic Director of the Flowers of War project, and the first musical artist-in-residence at the Australian War Memorial.


  • Overture: Elena Kats-Chernin

  • Requiem Aeternum: Handel (Fromelles)

  • Kyrie: FS Kelly (Pozieres)

  • Tuba mirum: Nigel Westlake, Alex Lithgow (Bapaume)

  • Lacrimosa: Elena Cats-Chernin (Bullecourt)

  • Virtus et Contantia: Richard Mills (The charge of Beersheba)

  • Dies Irae: Nigel Westlake (Third Ypres)

  • Sanctus: Nigel Westlake (The fall of flying Aces)

  • Benedictus Nigel Westlake (Amiens)

  • Libera Me: Nigel Westlake (Villers Bretonneux)

  • Offertorium: Andrew Schulz (Hamel and Monash)

  • Pie Jesu: Graeme Koehne (Mt. St Quentin/Peronne)

  • Lux Aeterna: Ross Edwards (Bellenglise, Monbrehan)

  • Prayer for Peace: Christopher Latham


The Australian War Memorial Orchestra & Choir and members of the Band of the Royal Military College Duntroon with Paul Goodchild - trumpet; Simone Riksman - soprano (Holland); Christina Wilson - mezzo-soprano; Andrew Goodwin - tenor; David Hidden - baritone; David Novak - accordion (Slovenia); Jordan Aikin - bagpipes (UK); Timothy Young - piano; Tobias Cole - Choirmaster. Directed by Christopher Latham