• Ross Edwards
  • Symphony No. 1 (1991)
    (Da Pacem Domine)

  • Wise Music G. Schirmer Australia Pty Ltd (World)

Contemporary Classical Composition of the Year 1993 - APRA/AMC AWARDS

  • 1+pic.1+ca.0+a-cl.1+cbn/
  • 29 min

Programme Note

Conceived and partly composed during the Gulf Crisis, the tone of the Symphony Da Pacem Domine is unremittingly sombre. As I worked on the score I began to think of it as a threnody for the gravely ill Stuart Challender, then Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who died shortly after its completion and to whom it dedicated. 

A large, monolithic single movement, the Symphony evolves slowly and organically over a deep, insistent rhythmic pulse. It is thus, in effect, a sort of massive orchestral chant of quiet intensity into which my subjective feelings of grief and foreboding about some of the great threats to humanity: war, pestilence and environmental devastation, have been subsumed into the broader context of ritual. And although it is manifestly more architectonic than some of my other 'contemplative' music, the Symphony is designed to create a sense of timelessness associated with certain Oriental and Mediaeval Western musical genres. A hymn-like episode based on a fragment of the plainsong Da Pacem Domine (Give Peace, Lord) gives the work its title. 

Symphony Da Pacem Domine was commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with assistance from the Australia Council. The first performance was given in August 1992 by the West Australian Symphony conducted by Jorge Mester. 


Symphony No. 1, "Da pacem Domine"
Symphony No. 1, "Da pacem Domine"


Edwards Symphony No. 1