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        Joseph Twist

        Australian composer/arranger Joe Twist is one of the most ‘in demand’ composers in Australia and abroad (Limelight Magazine). Straddling film music and concert music arenas, his music crosses genres including ancient vocal music, opera, contemporary orchestral music, jazz, music theatre and cabaret. Twist has received wide acclaim for his music for film and television including the successful animated series Bluey, as well as arrangements and orchestrations for many major motion pictures produced in Hollywood. He has created music for many renowned international artists and ensembles such as Moby and The Wiggles, and his work have been performed and recorded by the world’s greatest orchestras, including collaborations with The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Hollywood Scoring Orchestra and all major Symphony Orchestras in Australia. Twist’s works appear on numerous commercial recordings including Twist’s own album Dancing With Somebody.

        Twist has a wealth of experience in choral music as both a singer and composer, receiving numerous commissions and performances of his music from choirs in Australia and around the world, including The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Chanticleer, Voces8, The Idea Of North, The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, L.A. Choral Lab, Sydney Chamber Choir, The Australian Voices, Gondwana Voices, Adelaide Chamber Singers and many others. Twist has worked for decades as a professional chorister in premier church choirs in Australia and the United States. Twist’s most recent commission includes a set of Canticles from Winchester Cathedral in celebration of the coronation of King Charles II.

        Twist has received numerous awards, including the ASCAP Jimmy Van Heusen Award 2013, the Chanticleer International Composition Competition, and first place in the 15th International Choral Composition Competition 2011. He is the recipient of two of Australia’s most prestigious Awards for screen music composers; the APRA Professional Development Award (Film and TV Category) and the Brian May Scholarship. Twist holds four tertiary degrees in music composition including doctorate and masters degrees from the University of Queensland, the Australian Film Television and Radio School, and New York University. Twist has participated in several prestigious film scoring programs around the United States, such as NYU ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in New York and the ASCAP Film and TV Workshop with Richard Bellis in Los Angeles.


        Title Description Composer Voicing

        Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep


        A lovely setting of this beloved text by Mary Frye, which speaks comfort as it were, beyond the grave. For unaccompanied SATB choir, Joe Twist wrote it for Graeme Morton and the National Youth Choir of Australia. Highly recommended.

        Hombres, Victoria, Victoria (from Three Motets after Victoria)


        The third of Joseph Twist’s “Victoria Triptch”. Suitable for concert use, and liturgically especially at Christmas.

        The recording (below) is by the Choir of St James Church, King Street, Sydney. A pronunciation guide is also here.


        Victory, mankind! Because against all of hell, The crying of a tender child ensures our glory.

        Available in the set of Three Motets after Victoria, found here – not available singly.



        Lament is a piece for mixed choir and cello. The text comes from the 17th-century oratorio ‘Jephte’ by Giacomo Carissimi. The words are those of anguish, for Jephte promised to sacrifice the first thing he laid eyes upon if he returned victorious from war. He fulfilled this vow, even though this happened to be his only daughter.


        The recording is of the Brisbane Chamber Choir, for whom the piece was written. The cellist is Gwyn Roberts.

        Lamentation of Jeremiah (from Three Motets after Victoria)


        The second of Joseph Twist’s “Victoria Triptych” this piece quotes from Victoria’s Lamentation, adding new modern elements clothed in a rich, plaintive harmonic language. Suitable for concert and liturgical use, and making musical references to Victoria’s Lamentations throughout.

        Available in the set of Three Motets after Victoria, linked here – not available singly.

        On The Night Train


        Composer Joe Twist writes,

        On The Night Train sets the scene of a train dashing through the Australian bush at dusk, as described by Henry Lawson’s graceful poetry. The emptiness of the Australian outback is represented by long, sustained pitches in the opening and closing sections of the work, above which a simple, folk-like melody is sung. This melody is also used throughout a rhythmic contrasting section where the singers create the impression of a moving train with ‘scat-like’ nonsense syllables and whispered vocal effects.

        Rain Dream


        A highly imaginative choral piece for SSAA choir and piano. In it a young child who lives in the dry central Australian outback and has never seen rain dreams of what it would be like to be in a thunderstorm. The work eventually becomes a sort of rain dance with chanting of “Wandjina”, an Australian Aboriginal rain spirit.

        Three Motets After Victoria (Victoria Triptych)


        This “Victoria Triptych” was written in 2011, the 400th anniversary of the death of the great Spanish polyphonist, Thomas Luis de Victoria. For unaccompanied SATB choir, and with divided parts, these wonderful Latin motets remind us that the great motet tradition is still vibrant and flourishing. The individual titles, recorded by the choir of St James King Street, Sydney, one of three commissioning choirs, are:

        Versa est in Luctum

        Lamentation of Jeremiah

        Hombres, Victoria, Victoria!

        Ubi Caritas



        “Where charity and love are, God is there.” A commemoration of Jesus Christ for Holy Thursday, for me, the Ubi Caritas has a few significant dimensions; the warmth of Christ’s love, the adoration and mystery of the holy spirit, and the idea of an ‘inclusive, universal’ celebration. Accordingly, my Ubi Caritas reflects this through contrasts in harmonic language, at times chromatic or mysterious, at other times diatonic or pentatonic, reflecting Christ’s love, as well as the influence of modal harmony from Eastern Europe and Africa. Similarly, contrasts in rhythm and texture are incorporated. The calm, sparse music which bookends the work is countered with rhythmic, syncopated music in a kind of ritualistic exultation.

        Versa est in Luctum


        Number one of Twist’s “Victoria Triptych”. My harp is tuned for lamentation, and my flute to the voice of those who weep. Spare me, O Lord, for my days are as nothing (trans. Miguel Iglesias)

        Available in the set of Three Motets after Victoria, linked here – not available singly.

        Winchester Service


        Winchester Service – Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

        These canticles, suited for mixed voices and organ, premiered on May 6 2023 in the Winchester Cathedral. Joseph Twist comments, “It fascinates me that the words of the Magnificat were considered by some to be so radical that they were banned in some parts of the world. Believed to be the words of Mary, phrases like “filled the hungry,” “exalted the humble and meek” and “the rich sent empty away” resonate with me, and I believe they resonate with many people today just as they have for centuries, despite the bans. There is also a great sense of storytelling to the text, as these phrases take us from one idea to the next, ultimately offering a sense of peace and contentment, then reaffirmed by the uplifting words of the Nunc Dimittis. I’ve endeavoured to convey this story with music that rises and falls, contrasted by more static choral sonorities and underpinned by a gentle perpetuum mobile organ accompaniment. At the conclusion of each canticle, “Amen” takes us to a place that is vast, peaceful, and celestial. It is my hope that these canticles may offer a uniquely Australian response to a text that has echoed throughout churches and cathedrals for centuries.

        Winchester Cathedral Choir Recording of Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis – Conducted by Andrew Lumsden and Organist Claudi Grinnell