A Song for Gallipoli – 29th March 2015

NRSO is deeply honoured to present the world premiere performance of “A Song for Gallipoli” by acclaimed Australian composer George Dreyfus AM. Featuring lyrics from poetry by World War I soldier Charles Hamilton Sorley, sung by soloist Susan Gallagher, we stand humbled and united to commemorate the Centenary of the ANZAC. Lest We Forget.

George Dreyfus AM  is one of Australia’s best known composers, conductor and musician.  In his early career, he toured professionally with His Majesty’s Theatre playing the bassoon and later joined the ABC’s Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, before becoming a freelance composer.  Throughout these years, he has composed, amongst others, four operas, two symphonies, choral and chamber music, and also has many film scores to his credit, the best known of which is the theme from the TV series “Rush” in the 1970s.

When Dreyfus learnt of the ANZAC centenary celebration in April 2015, he set out to compose “A Song for Gallipoli”.  He found World War I soldier Charles Hamilton Sorley’s poem in the Hawthorn library and set to it immediately, sketching out the melody and chord structure in just a few minutes, then continued to work on the full orchestral version.  With funding from his local member of parliament, he was able to produce the music, hire the Hawthorn Arts Centre, and engage musicians. 

Charles Hamilton Sorley was amongst 16 Great War poets commemorated in Westminster Abbey‘s Poet’s Corner.  The haunting words of his poem, “When you see millions of the mouthless dead”, leave one speechless upon reflections of war.  Dreyfus, himself a German Jew, narrowly escaped persecution and fled to Australia in 1939 with his brother and later his parents.  His grandparents did not make it.  Like Sorley, Dreyfus declared: “I am against war, whatever it takes”.

NRSO is proud to be part of the celebrations for the centenary of the ANZAC legend, bringing to you a program of great power and might, of struggle, honour, nationalism and victory, including Beethoven’s 7th symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, conducted by Spiros Rantos.  The centre piece, “A Song for Gallipoli” will also showcase our own local soloist mezzo-soprano, Susan Gallagher.