Sunday, October 7, 2018


A Flowers of War concert
Directed by Christopher Latham
Llewellyn Hall 6 October 2018

Reviewed by Len Power

Standing ovations have become boringly routine at live performances these days but ‘The Diggers’ Requiem’ at Llewellyn Hall fully deserved the standing ovation it received from an appreciative full house at the end of a thrilling evening of fine music.

This was the last in the series of Flowers of War concerts, a four year project by Christopher Latham which highlighted the work of composers and artists who died in, or as a result of, World War One.  The concerts sought to reinvigorate our desire for peace by commemorating the terrible losses in that war.  ‘The Diggers’ Requiem’ marked the war’s end by honouring the sacrifices made on all sides and symbolises the continuing partnership between France, Germany and Australia towards building a peaceful world.

Co-commissioned by the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and supported by the Australian Defence Force, this huge undertaking included works by living composers Elena Kats-Chernin, Nigel Westlake, Graeme Koehne, Richard Mills, Andrew Schultz and Ross Edwards as well as music by George Frideric Handel and Frederick Septimus Kelly, an Australian composer who sadly was killed in The Great War.

Christopher Latham conducting the company

The large Australian War Memorial Orchestra and Choir with invited musicians from the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, were joined by soloists Simone Riksman, soprano, Christina Wilson, mezzo-soprano, Andrew Goodwin, tenor and David Hidden, baritone.  Instrumental soloists included Paul Goodchild, trumpet, David Novak, accordion, Timothy Young, piano and Jordan Aikin, bagpipes.  The director of the concert, Christopher Latham, was the conductor of this massive and memorable concert.

There was powerful and precise playing by the orchestra in the many highly dramatic works, fine singing by the soloists and the choir and especially fine solos by trumpeter, Paul Goodchild, and Jordan Aikin on bagpipes.

Jordan Aikin on bagpipes

This thrilling concert was made even more memorable by the opportunity to see the living composers of the music take a bow with the performers at the end.

 Photos by Peter Hislop

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.