Gallus et Agnus (After Demantius)
The piece was written for Clive Birch, bass in the Australian vocal ensemble The Song Company, at the suggestion of the group’s director Roland Peelman. It was to be placed in the short break between Demantius’ St John Passion and David Lang’s The Little Match Girl, during which the group had three minutes to get into costume. As there is no part for bass voice in the second work, this short piece formed a kind of bridge. The first text (Gallus) takes the passage of Peter’s three denials of Christ linked to the cock crowing, which is abbreviated in the Demantius setting, while the second (Agnus) sets Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter after the Resurrection through his three-fold injunction to “feed my lambs”.
As Clive Birch was retiring from the group after this performance, it formed a kind of retirement gift.