Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


World premier of commissioned work celebrating Canterbury

World premier of commissioned work celebrating Canterbury

More than two years ago the Christchurch City Choir received funding from Creative New Zealand to commission city-based composer Philip Norman to create a work celebrating Canterbury as part of the Choir's 20th anniversary programme in 2010.

There was no opportunity to present it owing to the earthquakes. Now however, “At the Lighting of the Lamps” will be performed as part of a Sunday afternoon “Splendour and Light” concert presented by the Christchurch City Choir and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra on 30 September 2012 at Christ’s College Assembly Hall.

Philip Norman has used the words of At the Lighting of the Lamps, by Christchurch poet Ursula Bethell (1874 – 1945), in which she describes the sun setting behind the Southern Alps from her Cashmere garden.

Music Director Brian Law said the uniquely Canterbury-inspired work weaves together words, images and music to reflect the distinctive plains and mountain landscapes which are so loved by people in Canterbury.

“Just as Ursula Bethell created layers of shade and colour in her word-pictures so the composer has created a beautiful composition capturing and reflecting the verbal colours and harmony of the poem,” Brian Law said.
The premier will be part of a programme of choral music and orchestral works with royal connections by Vivaldi (Gloria 1st movement), Purcell (I was Glad), Handel (The King Shall Rejoice) and Britten (Gloriana Dances), and includes Williamson’s Jubilee Hymn written for Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The concert starts at 2.00 p.m., on Sunday 30 September 2012 at the Christ’s College Assembly Hall, Rolleston Avenue..

Tickets are $25 for general admission (with a special price for $10 for under 14s) and are available from the Christchurch City Choir by email to or phone (03) 366 6927. Seating is limited.

The Choir will perform Handel’s Messiah on 8 December.

Ursula Bethell’s poem “At the Lighting of the Lamps” (verses 1 & 2)

The solemn, soundless music
Of the sun's setting reverberates
Along the low red cloud-reefs,
And the last echoing reflections
Of his great incandescence
Diminish among the mountain-tops,
As the sky's ebbing harmonies
Die down in modulations
Of gold and red to red-gold,
Old gold, pale gold, gold-veiled
Lingering pearl-greyness,
Grey silence of sleep.
The mountains stand round about
Like sable-vestured chorus,
Until they are swallowed up
In the all-encompassing dark.
But see! from the deepening dark
Of the dumb and slumbering plain,
Sudden a new song sprimgs;
Gold lights on the plain
Suddenly gleam and quiver,
Suddenly, over all the plain
Glimmer, now, golden lights.
As instruments with strings
Quiver, as dreaming reeds
Gleam, soft, in symphonies,
On the wide orchestral plain,
From the foot-hills to the sea's
Margin, bright companies,
Choirs of golden lights.
O glittering harmony!
O tranquil jubilee!
The lamp-set champaign sings!
A thousand golden lights
Gleam, a thousand sparks
Glow, out of the deepening dark
Now, the deepening night.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland