Program notes

Three Architects for choir, opus 91a (2012)

  1. 1. Burnham – for children’s choir
  2. 2. Sullivan – for adult choir
  3. 3. Griffin – for children’s and adult choir

This work consists of settings for unaccompanied choir of inspirational texts from three ‘Chicago School’ architects from the early 1900s: Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan and Walter Burley Griffin.  Burnham and Sullivan were powerful influences on Griffin in developing his award-winning design for the city of Canberra. The work was commissioned for the Centenary of Canberra in 2013, responding to themes surrounding the founding ideals and design of the city. Canberra, Australia’s capital, was built to the designs of the American utopian modernist architectural partnership (and married couple) Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. In its first performance for the Centenary of Canberra each movement of Three Architects preceded the orchestral movements of Symphony No 3 – Century. The premiere of the work was given on Canberra Day in March 2013, in an outdoor performance before a huge audience estimated at 150,000.

© Andrew Schultz, 2012.


Texts

  1. 1. Burnham

Make no little plans,

They have no magic.

Make big plans – aim high,

In hope and work.

A noble plan, a diagram,

Once drawn, is made.

A noble, logical diagram

Once recorded, will never die.

But will be, when we are dead,

A living thing.

It will insist:

Let your watchword be order

And your beacon beauty.

Text: Daniel Hudson Burnham, 1907 (adapted by Andrew Schultz)

  1. 2. Sullivan

Do you, or do you not, intend to be architects in whose care

Democracy may entrust its dreams and aspirations?

I warn you the time left for an answer is acutely brief.

For as young as you are, you are not as young as you were yesterday – And tomorrow?

Tomorrow!

Text: Louis Sullivan, ‘The Young Man in Architecture’, 1900 (adapted by Andrew Schultz)

  1. 3. Griffin

Do you, or do you not, intend to be architects in whose care

Unity is essential to the city –

So complex a problem requires a simple organism.

Purity in proportion, and unity in scale.

Eliminate the useless,

Eliminate what serves no role.

A general simplicity,

A maximum of repetition,

A maximum of rhythm.

Honest direct solutions.

A civilization of aspiring ideals,

So limitless,

Greater than any on earth.

Number, size, scale, place and elevation

Work in one simple pattern.

Text:  Walter Burley Griffin, ‘Federal Capital Competition Project Outline’, 1912 (extracted from original manuscript).


Canberra100 have produced a detailed Education Kit concerning the work written by Nicole Saintilan – it can be downloaded here.

The work can be heard in a performance by Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Choir /Nicholas Milton on the ABC Rewind website.