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This August, the MSO’s Composer in Residence and pre-eminent musician Paul Grabowsky AO, will join forces with international acclaimed singer and film composer Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) for the world premiere of Immortal Diamond.

The MSO commission will be conducted by Benjamin Northey and feature the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with a 16-voice choir.

Grabowsky makes a welcome return to Hamer Hall following his extraordinary ceremonial song cycles of the Wägiluk with the Wilfred Brothers in Wata, performed in 2021.

The mystical collaboration between Grabowsky and Gerrard has its origins in the 80s.

‘’I first became aware of Lisa’s unique musical gifts during the 1980s when fans of her band Dead Can Dance introduced me to their fascinating sound world,” recalls Grabowsky. “We became friends and collaborators in 2017”.

‘’Lisa is a deeply intuitive musician, with a strong bent towards the spiritual. For Lisa, the moment of singing requires giving-over of the self to something higher flowing through her. This is expressed through improvised glossolalia – a kind of singing in tongues. It comes from a deep place, welling up from a hidden pool.

‘’Our duet performances have taken me on a journey far away from the worlds I am used to, to one in which very few notes can be more than enough,’’ said Grabowsky.

Immortal Diamond borrows its title from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and the Comfort of Resurrection, in which his unforgettable final lines describe his relationship to Christ:

Since he was what I am, and

This Jack, joke, poor posherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,

Is immortal diamond

The poem, full of descriptive sound pictures, provided the inspiration for the sound world captivated by Lisa Gerrard where she sings of the power of spiritual love and renewal.

“Immortal Diamond was largely composed during the dark winters of lockdowns and can perhaps be understood as a secular requiem for those who passed, and a prayer for better days ahead,” says Grabowsky.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will provide the soundscape to this new composition which will ebb and flow throughout this special evening event, with 16 wordless singers enveloping Gerrard’s voice and Grabowsky’s intricate piano tones.

Immortal Diamond featuring Lisa Gerrard, Paul Grabowsky, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and choir will be performed at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 5 October.

Immortal Diamond
Wednesday 5 October 2022, 8pm
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

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