Monday, 22 October 2012

The Central Coast Chorale, director Christopher Bowen

Many Australian community choirs perform Church music, and this is one of the best. Founded in 1993, the Central Coast Chorale (see is based on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Its Musical Director Christopher Bowen OAM HonFellow BMus (University of Sydney) is an eminent Australian composer and musician, whose compositions are available at 

The Central Coast Chorale includes a large swag of Church music in its repertoire, as well as both secular and Australian Church music compositions, and it reaches a wide audience. The Chorale's annual performance at the annual City of Sydney Christmas Concert in collaboration with the Sydney University Graduate Choir, St John's Uniting Church Choir, the Sydney Community College Choir, and the Central Coast Children's Choir (directed by Jenny Bell), is always eagerly anticipated. The Chorale also presents a series of concerts throughout the year. The Chorale has produced four CDs, which include a significant number of compositions by Christopher Bowen. 

Of particular note is Bowen's setting of Christopher Brennan's exquisite poem "Sweet Silence after Bells", performed at St Philip's Catholic Church in Sydney in August 2010. Since my Adelaide University days, where I was fortunate to have Brian Elliott and Adrian Mitchell as my tutors, I considered Christopher Brennan (1870-1932) Australia's finest poet, since he addresses the deepest philosophical and religious issues with ease, but he is greatly underrated. It's good to see that Brennan now has a champion in Christopher Bowen. Bowen sums up Christopher Brennan's prolific contribution to Australian poetry in these words: 

“For me, as a composer, a poem must not only invite interpretation of the text through the intellect but be able to involve the senses through its colour and atmosphere. One has to feel its text, taste its language and absorb its essence. ... I experience these qualities in Brennan’s poetry and to merely evaluate his worth as a poet within the confines of the Antipodes is a grave injustice to a man who deserves greater recognition.”

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