Vi­enna Boys’ in­quir­ing minds

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT'S ON -

may be an en­dur­ing sym­bol of Europe, ac­claimed as the world’s best boys’ choir throughout their 500-year his­tory, but the present group of 25 young cho­ris­ters who make up the Vi­enna Boys’ Choir are mod­ern and cu­ri­ous about the wider world. Com­poser Elena Kats-Chernin, com­mis­sioned to cre­ate mu­sic set to Dorothea Mackellar’s much-loved poem, My Coun­try, helped the choiris­ters, aged 10-14, cap­ture the essence of Aus­tralia by chang­ing the name of her piece to Land of Sweep­ing Plains. ‘‘I wanted to give them a real feel­ing of Aus­tralia and that new ti­tle is more im­me­di­ately un­der­stood if sung in an­other coun­try,’’ Kats-Chernin says. The hon­our and re­spon­si­bil­ity of trans­form­ing the beau­ti­ful poem into a piece of mu­sic weighed heav­ily on Kat­sCh­ernin, but she says it has been a joy. ‘‘I’ve had to take into ac­count that I was writ­ing for the world’s best boys’ choir. Their voices are amaz­ing and they are very tal­ented. They can be bird-like, as well as earthy, de­pend­ing on the reg­is­ters, and there is much vo­cal colour to in­spire a com­poser.’’ The work is just one of the songs the choir will sing on its Aus­tralian tour, with the bulk of its reper­toire taken up with tra­di­tions. Kats-Chernin’s piece will be per­formed along with Jo­hann Strauss, Mozart and Schu­bert.

The Vi­enna Boys Choir plays The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast on Wed­nes­day at 8pm. Tick­ets are $99.

Elena Kats-Chernin and mem­bers of The Vi­enna Boys’ Choir

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