Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Aweful Place

Emperor penguins, Ross Sea, Antarctica
Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition left Port Chalmers on 29 November 1910. Scott intended to be the first to reach the South Pole. When he and his companions, Bowers, Wilson, Oates and Evans arrived there on 16 January 1912 they discovered that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it by a month.

An awful place (Baritone solo and choir)
An orchestral prelude indicates the hardships of the march of Scott and his companions to the South Pole.
SCOTT
Great God! This is an awful place
and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it
without the reward of priority.
CHOIR
Lorde have mercy upon us.
 Christe have mercy upon us.
 Lorde have mercy upon us.
SCOTT
Bowers, looking ahead, said he thought he saw a cairn.
 The cairn coalesced – became a black speck –
 a black flag planted where a camp had been:
rumpled snow. . . marks of sledge and ski and paw . . .
We knew what it meant.
The end of all our dreams.
The end of all our hopes.
Amundsen first at the pole.
CHOIR
O Lorde save thy servaunt.
Sende him helpe from thy holy place.
And evermore myghtely defende him.
Whiche putteth his trust in thee.
Lord heare our praiers.
And let our crie come unto thee.
SCOTT
Great God! This is an awful place
and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it
without the reward of priority.
We turn our backs on the goal of our ambition.
So many hopes, so many well-laid plans.
We turn for home, eight hundred miles of soul-destroying hauling.
The return journey will test us to the limit. . .
I am filled with dread.
But what can we do?
We begin . . . we begin the journey home.
CHOIR
Lorde have mercie upon us.
Christe have mercie upon us.
Lorde have mercie upon us.

So begins The Journey Home, John Drummond's new oratorio. (Text reprinted with permission.) Don't miss the world premiere of this significant work! Saturday 8 September, 8pm, Regent Theatre, Dunedin. Tickets are on sale now!

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