Sacred Environment – synopsis

Sacred Environment

Kate Moore

Philharmonic Orchestra and choir



Sacred Environment is an oratorio in 5 movements featuring solo soprano and didgeridoo organ (tree organ). It was commissioned by The Holland Festival and premiered by The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Groot Omroepkoor at Concertgebouw for Zaterdag Matinee Proms, 24 June 2017. The score is made available through Donemus.

Turning to the Antique Forests of pristine bushland of east Australia, the home of the ancient Wollemi Pine, a secret valley rich with rare wildlife, where nature is sanctified, Sacred Environment (2017) is a prophetic vision of a world to come, an oratorio, where the living forces of trees, animals, minerals, stars and water stand on the brink of a collapsing world. The forest, a great Cathedral, is a holy place that lives and breathes, a refuge to creatures and home to many species that find their place amidst the canopy. They surround and envelop a mysterious blindfolded woman who emerges from the shadows. Hoodwinked, she is on a journey into the depths of the forest floor, a dark path through the mists of time. She is a metaphor for Mother Nature who has been lost, Lady Justice who balances her scales at a fine tipping point, where at any moment one side or the other will fall to create a chain reaction of destruction. She has been cornered, and the groundswell wells up beneath her in a plea for deliverance on the day of judgement, where the words of the Requiem Mass, Libera Me peel through the bushland as the smell of smoke permeates the changing air. The forest is faced with the calamity of destruction imposed upon it by human intervention and climate change. Everything begins to burn.

Live recording: