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Q&A with ChorusOz® soloist Warwick Fyfe

ChorusOz is an exciting opportunity for choristers from across Australia and abroad to come together in an annual choral weekend and bring to life one of the greatest works in choral repertoire. The results are always spectacular. Bass Warwick Fyfe is a soloist who will be performing Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with this year’s ChorusOz on Sunday 12 June 6pm at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.  To register to be a part of this year’s ChorusOZ click here. To book tickets click here.

Q&A with Warwick Fyfe

Q1) Have you performed this work before? If yes, which movements do you think the audience will enjoy the most? If no, what are your thoughts about doing this piece for the first time?

I have never performed this work though it has always loomed in my mind like a mighty, distant peak visible through the mists. Performing it for the first time will be an opportunity to immerse myself in a work which has daunted some great conductors as being almost too sublime to approach. I have had epiphanic, coup de foudre moments with great works when I’ve heard them, as a humble audience member, for the first time live, as distinct from on CD. Some works only reveal their treasures when one has abided with them for a good while. Be that as it may, having only ever listened to the Missa Solemnis on CD, I feel it is a work I’ve yet to experience properly.

Q2) What do you think about standing onstage with a chorus of 800 voices?

I expect it will be a mighty sound! I was in a similarly proportioned chorus in 1988 when I was involved in a Mahler 8 in Canberra.

Q3) From your perspective how does Beethoven stand in the context of full choral repertoire?

If he’d written nothing for concerted voices but the final movement of his 9th Symphony, it alone would have qualified him to be regarded as one of the Titans of choral writing. But then there’s the vastly proportioned testimony of the Missa Solemnis too. As a singer, I can see the justice of the criticism that his writing for voices is sometimes awkward, but the effect is sublime.

Q4) What are your impressions of the ChorusOz public choral training programme?

Based on the Mozart Requiem I was a soloist in a few years ago, I sense an enthusiasm from the participants so strong it bubbles over. Nothing could be more salutary for the health of society than such an intense engagement with high art.

Free Classical Music · Philharmonic · Sydney Classical Music Guide · Sydney Free Classical Music - Events News · Top 100

Popular Classical Top 100

Amadeus (1984) is available from Click on image to purchase.

No. 97 is Mozart’s Requiem – Lacrimosa. Composed in Vienna in 1791, the Requiem has been featured on countless movie soundtracks. Lacrimosa is the 8th movement of the Requiem, and the most famous. Mozart died before finishing the Requiem at the young age of 35, and Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed and delivered the Requiem to Count Franz von Wasell. The Count had commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate his wife’s death (which, incidentally, fell on Valentine’s Day – how tragic!).  Count Franz von Wassell commissioned the extensive work anonymously,and it is likely that he intended to put his own name on it.  Perhaps he would be a household name had he succeeded, but Mozart’s unexpected death and a benefit concert for his widow put a spanner in the works.  In the critically acclaimed 1984 film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s highly fictionalised stage play Amadeus, it is suggested that it was not Franz von Wassell but Salieri (the famous Italian composer of the Habsburg Court) who anonymously commissioned Mozart’s Requiem.  If you haven’t seen it yet, Amadeus really is a first class film which is sure to ignite your passion for Mozart as it did mine.

No. 97

Requiem – Lacrimosa

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

Purchase Lacrimosa – iTunes

Purchase Lacrimosa – Amazon


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Philharmonic · Sydney Classical Music Guide · Sydney Free Classical Music - Events News · Top 100

Popular Classical Top 100

Sensual, rhythmic and emotionally stirring, No. 98 is Ravel’s Boléro, a famous one movement orchestral piece, originally commissioned as a ballet by a Russian ballerina (Ida Rubenstein). The video below is of Andre Rieu conducting Bolero at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne. Whilst Rieu has been criticised by some as being too ‘popular’, debussycat applauds him for bringing classical music to a wider audience.


No. 98




 by Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


Click for Andrie Rieu’s recording of Bolero – Audio CD

Click for Andrie Rieu’s recording of Bolero – mp3

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