The Flowers of War Newsletter July 2, 2018

The Flowers of War Newsletter July 2, 2018

Lake Burley Griffin was silky smooth as the sound of the Canberra Peace Bell rang across it this morning, when Christopher Latham, Artist in Residence at the Australian War Memorial, struck the big bronze bell to announce the coming of the Diggers Requiem. The last movement, written by Ross Edwards, incorporates 62,000 bells, one for each Australian who died. Some of those bells were played by percussionist Veronica Bailey, on her vibraphone, other handbells will be played live at the time, and incorporated into the recording of a pattern of bells will be the huge bell struck this morning.

Flowers of War Newsletter - June 2018

Flowers of War Newsletter - June 2018

Chris Latham has just returned from a highly successful visit to France and Belgium - while it started with the breathtaking Diggers’ Requiem in Amiens, France, where Simone Riksman’s singing was called ‘une voix celeste’  (a heavenly voice) by a French TV station; it continued with a recording session in Brussels and a chamber music concert in Lille.

Chris Latham takes up the story:

Australia Council supports Diggers' Requiem

The Australia Council has released the results of its latest grant rounds including its regular project categories and the outcomes of the Contemporary Music Touring Program. The $6.8 million worth of funding in the latest core grants round will support 222 projects by 133 individual artists, 30 groups, and 59 arts organisations.

Chris Latham receives $30,000 for the Diggers’ Requiem Young Artists Program, a five-day intensive program built around performance of the works from composers such as Elena Kats-Chernin, Richard Mills and Ross Edwards.

The full list of grants are available on the Australia Council website

The Flowers of War: Remembering the Lost Voices of World War I by Chris Latham

Ron Cerebona writes in the Canberra Times on 14 September,

"The Flowers of War: Remembering the Lost Voices of World War I. 2017 subscription series. theflowersofwar.org.

"As part of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, composer and performer Christopher Latham has assembled a series of four concerts combining appropriately themed music and art at some of the national institutions in Canberra.

"The logo of a red poppy, white daisy and blue cornflower is intended to symbolise the bonds between Australia and France and the enormous cultural losses to these nations and to all the countries involved. Much of the music is by composers who served in the war, and some of them did not live to see it end.

"On September 29 at 7.30pm and 30 at 2pm at the James O Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, the first concert will be Monet's Flowers of War. It will feature projections of Claude Monet's final World War I paintings, his water lilies series, completed as cataracts were sending him blind and, Latham says, representing the last flowering of French impressionism.

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2017 Season Launch report by Helen Musa

CityNews Arts Editor Helen Musa writes:

“I AM not interested in Anzac-ery”, artist in residence for the Australian War Memorial, Christopher Latham, told an audience at the Ainslie Arts Centre on Sunday (July 30) as he launched the 2017 season of his “Flowers of War” project – with music.

Christopher says Canberra has the opportunity during these anniversaries to reflect on the commemorations of the “Great War”, which is so necessary considering the “obscene amount of suffering” and the fact that the European powers did it again such a short time after 1918.

Ankle-deep in a sea of red poppies, which were sent by women from the “5000 poppies” project in Melbourne, Latham joined by MC David Whitney, pianist Aaron Chew and soprano Louise Page, urged music lovers present, including Maj General David Chalmers and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to get behind this significant cultural program.

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Peter Hislop photo