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About the Repertoire - 2022 Concert Season

Sunday 11 December 2022 - ‘Another Christmas Songbook' 
Old Government House, 2 George Street Brisbane (BOOK NOW)

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Soirées Musicales Quintette

4pm Sunday 11 December 2022 – ‘Another Christmas Songbook'

Old Government House, 2 George Street Brisbane

Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano



As the concert title indicates, this program continues our exploration of Christmas music beyond the familiar carol settings. The selection of art songs, duets, cantatas and lesser known carols is drawn from various parts of Europe and from across more than three centuries. The inclusion of some baroque works featuring strings and harpsichord adds another new strand to our programming. Our audiences for the original ‘A Christmas Songbook’ program of several years ago were delighted by the anthology approach, with its interwoven narrative and connections across diverse places and times. We look forward to sharing this next Christmas musical adventure with you.




Christmas vocal music from Germany and Austria:
Dietrich Buxtehude                  Carol setting - In dulci jubilo (c.1680)
Georg Philip Telemann            Solo cantata - Was gleicht dem Adel (1726)
Peter Cornelius                         Song cycle - Weihnachtslieder Op.8 (1870)
Johann Rangger                        Tyrolean carol – Still, o Himmel (1836)

Seasonal instrumental music from Italy:
Giuseppe Valentinti                 Sinfonia Op.1 No.12 ‘Per il santissimo Natale’ (1701)
Pietro Antonio Locatelli          Trio Sonata Op.5 No.5 ‘Pastorale’ (c.1740)

Carols and Christmas songs from England:

Arnold Bax                                A Christmas Carol (1919)
Percy Grainger                         The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol (1911) for solo piano
Arthur Bliss                               A Christmas Carol Op.45 No.1 (1927)
Edward Elgar                            A Christmas Greeting Op.52 (1907)

Christmas songs from France:
Gabriel Fauré                            Noël Op.43 No.2 (1885)
Jules Massenet                         Noël de fleurs (1912)
Déodat de Séverac                  Chant de Noël (1917)
Jean Baptiste Ganaye              Noël Op.6 (1921)
Ernest Gagnon (arranger)      Nouvelle agréable (1909)

Tickets and booking information:


Book through 4MBS Ticketing on 3847 1717, nine to five, seven days a week, or online at    Pre-bookings only — no door sales

$45 full / $35 concession / $15 full-time students

Please note - seating allocation is made when booking (online or by phone)

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Sunday 7 August 2022 - ‘Visions and Reflections' 
St Mary's Church, 455 Main Street Kangaroo Point 

Soirées Musicales Quintette

4pm Sunday 7 August 2022 – ‘Visions and Reflections’

St Mary’s Church, 455 Main Street Kangaroo Point

Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano



This program focuses on the wonderful heritage of song cycles inspired by fine English and French poetry. The first half comprises settings of French texts written during the lifetimes of the featured composers. The 'Ariettes oubliées' (Forgotten melodies), which appeared within Paul Verlaine’s 1874 publication 'Romances sans paroles' (Songs without words), inspired Claude Debussy to produce, in the mid-1880s, a set of chansons which signals his early maturity. In contrast, Maurice Ravel’s cycle 'Don Quichotte à Dulcinée', to texts by Paul Morand, was his last completed work, in 1933. Although it was commissioned for that year’s film adaption of Cervantes’ novel by Georg Pabst, it was only Jacques Ibert’s songs on texts by Alexandre Arnout which were featured in the soundtrack. As each set of songs complements the other in terms of plot and Don Quixote’s character development, both are included in this program.


The second half of the program features English language texts from more distant times. Samuel Barber’s cycle of 1953, 'Hermit songs', is based on anonymous poems by medieval Irish monks and scholars, dating from as early as the 8th century. These epigrammatic insights into the simple but reclusive lives of their authors inspired equally quirky and charming songs by Barber, whose pride in his Irish heritage had recently been enriched by a trip to Donegal. In a similar vein, Gerald Finzi’s 'Let us garlands bring' employs the late romantic styles of English pastoralism in his settings of some of Shakespeare’s familiar texts, written in the years around 1600. Appropriately, this song cycle was dedicated to Vaughan Williams and first performed in 1942, on the occasion of the elder composer’s 70th birthday.


In various ways, this program highlights the ways in which the featured song composers reflect on the lives and aspirations of either those who went before, or of contemporaries who gave voice to the plight of those struggling with questions of love and destiny. Some of these settings transcend the mundanity of the human experience, notably Don Quixote whose dreams are destined never to be realised, and St Ita, whose mysticism links earthly circumstance with visions of the divine. The program begins and ends with works for vocal quartet, the arresting 'Chantez!' by Jules Massenet, and selections from Thomas Dunhill’s 'Songs of the river', to poems by various eminent Victorian-era writers.




Jules Massenet                                'Chantez!'(1901)

             Vocal quartet to a text by Marc Legrand


Claude Debussy                               'Ariettes oubliées' (1888)

             Six chansons for soprano to texts by Paul Verlaine


Jacques Ibert                                     'Chansons de Don Quichotte '(1933)

Maurice Ravel                                   ' Don Quichotte à Dulcinée' '(1933)

             Seven songs commissioned for the film ‘Don Quichotte’ by Georg Pabst


Samuel Barber                                  'Hermit songs Op.29' (1953)

             Cycle of ten songs for soprano based on anonymous medieval Irish texts


Gerald Finzi                                       'Let us garlands bring' Op.18 (1942)

             Cycle of five songs to texts by William Shakespeare


Thomas Dunhill                                'Selections from Songs of the river Op.44' (1916)

             Settings for vocal ensemble of texts by Tennyson, RL Stevenson and George Macdonald


Sunday 15 May & Friday 10 June 2022 - ‘Rediscovered Voices' 
The Chambers, Somerville House, 17 Graham Street South Brisbane 

Soirées Musicales Quintette


Annie Lower – soprano

Rachael Griffin – soprano

Mattias Lower – tenor

Leon Warnock – baritone

Peter Roennfeldt – piano


Friday 13 May 2022 (postponed to Friday 10 June) at 7.30pm


Sunday 15 May 2022 at 4pm


‘Rediscovered voices’




Works from ‘La belle époche’:

                Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) – ‘Cantique’ (1909)              

                Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) – ‘Attente’ (1910) and vocal quartet ‘Renouveau’ (1911)

                Piano pieces (1914) by each composer


Lieder and duets by Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn (1805-1847) to texts by Heinrich Heine:

                Duets – ‘Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ and ‘Aus meinen Tränen spriessen’ (1838)

                Lieder – ‘Ach, die Augen sind es wieder’, ‘Fichtenbaum und Palme’, ‘Verlust’, and

                from Op.1 (1846) ‘Schwanenlied’ and ‘Warum sind denn die Rosen’


Works from the turn of the century by Amy Beach (1867-1944):

                Duets – ‘Songs of the sea’ Op.10 (1890) and ‘Give me not love’ Op.61 (1905)

                Piano solo – ‘Dreaming’ Op.15 No.3 (1892)


‘Nonsense songs from Alice in Wonderland’ (1908) by Liza Lehmann (1862-1918):

                Sub-titled ‘The songs that came out wrong – A song-cycle for four voices’

                Texts from the novel by Lewis Carroll including ‘How doth the little crocodile’,

                ‘Fury said to a mouse’, ‘Will you walk a little faster’, ‘The Queen of Hearts’ and the trial                         scene


This varied program continues our exploration of composers who, though once well-known, have receded from general awareness until relatively recently. The selection of fascinating vocal and piano music composed by women during the 19th and early 20th centuries covers a wide emotional and stylistic range.


Nadia and Lili Boulanger were from a prominent family of Parisian musicians, but their creative careers were rather short-lived. After achieving widespread acclaim before World War One, Lili’s untimely death in 1918 coincided with Nadia’s decision to focus primarily on teaching. Subsequently, in addition to mentoring many leading young composers, Nadia avidly promoted her late sister’s works.


As the elder sister of Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny enjoyed a brilliant public career before her marriage in 1829 to Wilhelm Hensel. Thereafter, her performances as pianist and conductor were mostly in private settings in Berlin, though some of Fanny’s songs appeared in print, initially under the banner of Felix’s publications. Her personal association with Heine, both as household visitor and literary acquaintance, inspired a large number of vocal settings of his poems, most of which had remained unpublished until quite recently.


Amy Beach was similarly prevented from continuing her pianistic career during her marriage, but as a relatively young widow she resumed her performances in 1910, both in the USA and Europe. Her prolific composing covers all stages of her long lifetime, from brilliant teenager to respected elder of American music. Her skill in setting texts from several languages is complemented with highly idiomatic piano writing.


Like some of the other composers on this program, Liza Lehmann had a major career change after her marriage, in 1894, but her creative work continued unabated. Her early success as a singer is evident in her many vocal compositions, which include some of the most famous parlour songs ever written and several extended works for vocal ensemble. In later years she was a prominent teacher in London.  


In all, this program celebrates the artistry of an impressive group of women whose multi-faceted skills and accomplishments were duly recognised in their lifetimes. We proudly join the well-established international movement towards rediscovering their voices, through presenting selected highlights of their music. Following the highly positive feedback from those who attended our first concert held at The Chambers, we are looking forward to returning to this fine heritage venue - an ideal setting for this program.


Tickets and booking information:


Book through 4MBS Ticketing on 3847 1717, nine to five, seven days a week, or online at       Pre-bookings only — no door sales

$45 full / $38 concession / $15 full-time students

Please note - seating allocation is made when booking (online or by phone)

This concert is taking place under government and venue COVID-safe guidelines, as at the date of performance

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Fanny Hensel 1847

Liza Lehmann 1913 

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Nadia & Lili           Boulanger 1913       

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  Amy Beach c1900  

Entry at Gate 8 on Graham Street for lift and stair access to the second-floor venue

Public transport: Busway to Mater Hill

Parking: 192 Vulture Street Car Park and 15 Hancock Street Car Park (limited street parking)

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