Symphonia Eluvium by Elena Kats-Chernin
In late 2010, commissioned by the Brisbane Festival 2011, acclaimed Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin began a symphonic work for Brisbane. When the floodwaters engulfed the city in January 2011, Elena put aside the composition she had drafted thus far and started again.
Symphonia Eluvium (Symphony of the Floods) is Elena’s response to the devastation and heartbreak of the 2011 Brisbane flood, but also to the community spirit and determination of the people who lived through it. In four movements, the choral symphony tells the story of that time, and according to its composer was inspired by ‘turbulence and noise, survival and loss, the mud army and resilience, optimism and moving on’. Lyrics include excerpts from the 'We are Queenslanders' speech given by then Premier Anna Bligh at the height of the flood.
In January 2012, Ms Kats-Chernin very kindly donated to State Library a selection of her manuscripts for Symphonia Eluvium. These handwritten and annotated typeset draftsshow the composer's process as she refined and distilled her ideas, and translated her emotions and experiences into an evocative soundscape.
Symphonia Eluvium (Symphony of the Floods) made its world premiere on September 2011 as part of the Brisbane Festival, performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, led by noted Israeli conductor Asher Fisch, and accompanied by the Brisbane Chorale and the Canticum Chamber Choir. This performance has also been heard on ABC Classic FM, and can be seen on ABC iview.
Floodlines Floodlines: a living memoryFloodlines: 19th century Brisbane
The selection of Symphonia Eluvium manuscripts can be viewed in display cases in the John Oxley Library on Level 4.