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The Unusual Silence - Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir

Past Event
Sat 30 Sep, 8pm - 9:15pm
WWI Sanctuary, Level 2. Access via Grand Foyer, GENERAL ADMISSION $49

Harmony was where I found emotion. Even though The Unusual Silence is a contemporary piece, I wanted to think that the men whose words I borrowed might recognise something of themselves in the harmony."
- Victoria Kelly, Composer.

The Unusual Silence is a concert in remembrance of WWI, bringing together some of New Zealand's finest singers in a performance by the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir.

The Unusual Silence - Voices in Choir

Photography by Charles Brooks,

In this specially curated, contemplative and rich programme, songs of loss and tragedy, but also hope and the strength of the human spirit, will create a moving concert experience for audiences in Auckland War Memorial Museum's WWI Sanctuary.

The programme will include Chatman's 'In Flanders Fields', Arvo Pärt's 'Da pacem Domine', and music by David Hamilton and Eric Whitacre, as well as the world premiere of The Unusual Silence.

Inspired by the Museum's collection of war artefacts, including letters from New Zealand soldiers, New Zealand composer Victoria Kelly describes the concept for her new work, The Unusual Silence:

This piece will explore silence and the transience of sound; the silence that descends when battles stop; the unspoken relief, hope and desolation that is left resonating in the spaces between bursts of sound; the soldiers left deafened by noise and events too great for their bodies to withstand; the silence that so many soldiers maintained when they came home, the echoes of battle ringing only within; the effect of time on sound; the way that sound exists in memory and in dreams, filtered and altered by the unique human landscape of the people whose memories they are."

The concert is co-directed by Voices Artistic Director Karen Grylls and Stuart Maunder, known best for his work as Director with New Zealand Opera. Voices will be joined by a 24-strong youth choir made up of male students from Westlake Boys, Dilworth and St Kentigern's Colleges for parts of the programme.

After the premiere performance at the Museum, The Unusual Silence will also tour to the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival and Wellington. In addition, it will be performed in Toronto, Canada, at the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in 2018. These concerts and the Victoria Kelly commissioned work are presented in partnership with the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Toronto Children's Chorus and have received funding from the WW100 fund.

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