Gaia: The Goddess of the Fertile Earth



Celebrating the life that springs from the Earth

In this final concert of their season, Syzygy Ensemble connect with nature in her truest form with works which celebrate life that springs from the Earth. The architectural shape of tree-branches is transformed into sound in Andrew Aronowicz’s ‘Arborescence’, while Johnathan Harvey celebrates the vivid colourfulness of the lotus-flower in his complex quartet. The evening finishes with a new work from Brenton Broadstock, a long-time mentor and friend of Syzygy who has continually assisted in giving the ensemble life, and who has encouraged and enabled the musicians to blossom in a myriad of wonderful and unexpected ways.

This concert is in tribute to Sergeant Albert Lowerson VC, one of our ANZAC Local Heroes. To read the story, visit the Your WWI Local Hero tab above.

Please join Syzygy Ensemble for a post-concert function in the Ground Floor Foyer following the performance.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre and Syzygy Ensemble




Quartet for flute, violin, viola and piano





VC in the finest action of the war: Albert David Lowerson was born in Myrtleford in 1896. He had been dredging for gold before enlisting in the 5th Reinforcements of the 21st Battalion on 16 July 1915. Lowerson joined his unit on 7 January 1916 and accompanied it to France in March. After a period in the quiet Armentières sector, he entered the battle of the Somme, seeing heavy fighting for the Pozières heights from 25 July to 7 August. Two weeks later, he was back in the front lines near Mouquet Farm where he was wounded on 26 August. He rejoined the battalion a month later and was promoted to Corporal on 1 November. Promoted to temporary Sergeant on 11 April 1917, he was again wounded during the second battle of Bullecourt on 3 May.

Lowerson won the Victoria Cross on 1 September 1918 during the capture of Mont Saint-Quentin, led by General (later Sir) John Monash and regarded as the First AIF’s finest military action of the war,. The citation reads:
Regardless of heavy enemy machine-gun fire, Sergeant Lowerson moved about fearlessly directing his men, encouraging them to still greater effort, and finally led them on to the objective. On reaching the objective he saw that the left attacking party was held up by an enemy strong post that was heavily manned with 12 machine-guns. Under the heaviest sniping and machine-gun fire, Sergeant Lowerson rallied seven men as a storming party, and directing them to attack the flanks of the post, rushed the strong point, and, by effective bombing, captured it, together with 12 machine-guns and 30 prisoners. Though severely wounded in the right thigh, he refused to leave the front line until the prisoners had been disposed of, and the organisation and consolidation of the post had been thoroughly completed.

He then refused to leave the battalion for two days until evacuated because of his wound. He resumed duty on 17 September, in time to participate in the last Australian infantry action of the war, at Montbrehain on 5 October, where he was wounded for the fourth time. He received the Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 1 March 1919; a month later, he embarked for Australia and was discharged on 8 July.

Between the wars, Lowerson was a dairy and tobacco farmer on a Victorian soldier settlement block. He named his property, on Merriang estate near Myrtleford, St Quentin. Re-enlisting on 5 July 1940, he served as a sergeant in various training units throughout Australia until discharged in 1944. He died of leukaemia on 15 December 1945 at his home St Quentin in Myrtleford.

Story by war historian and writer Garrie Hutchinson.
Edited by Gordon Kerry.