Jesuit composer's Christmas collaboration with Leunig
A new CD brings together the music of Melbourne Jesuit Fr Christopher Willcock, and the words of writer and artist Michael Leunig.
The newly-released recording Southern Star is Fr Willcock's take on an Australian Christmas and features the Choir of Trinity College and Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols.
Fr Willcock says the idea of composing a cycle of Christmas songs/carols for voices and harp came from harpist Marshall McGuire.
"I remember him saying that every harpist in the country gets to do at least one gig a year, namely to play in Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols," Fr Willcock said.
"But once that item in the programme is over, the harpist has nothing more to do.
Fr Willcock said artist and poet Michael Leunig seemed to him an ideal person to write the texts for the cycle.
"For a number of years I had been struck by the imagery and strength of expression in the short poem-text accompanying his cartoons which appeared around Christmas time in The Age," he said.
"Instead of the sugary sentiments which are so often found on Christmas cards, his words were stronger-boned, unflinching, but yet not without a ray of light or hope."
A 'Southern Star' at Christmas (Province Express 28/11/07)
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29 Nov 2007