Vienna Boys’ inquiring minds
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