14 Apr 2017

Douglas MEWS: Ghosts, Fire, Water

From Music Alive, 7:38 pm on 14 April 2017
Hiroshima Dome 1945

Hiroshima Dome 1945 Photo: Shigeo Hayashi CC0 Wikimedia Commons


The powerful poem Ghosts, Fire, Water comes from British poet James Kirkup’s anthology titled No more Hiroshimas.

Written in 1955, a decade after the bombing of Hiroshima, it is based on the first three of the Hiroshima Panels created by collaborative husband and wife artists Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi.

Douglas Mews (1918-1993) composed his setting for alto soloist and mixed choir in 1972, and it has been a staple of the repertoire for both the New Zealand Youth Choir and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir for many years.

The memorable ending combines the Gregorian chant Ubi caritas et amor (“Where charity and hope are, God is there”) with members of the choir intoning the words “Love one another” in a variety of languages.

Alto soloist: Michelle Harrison

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