Robert Allworth (b. 1943) — Vision of Lourdes (1989) for organ
Australian composer Robert Allworth (b. 1943) has written a large body of music in a personal and quite distinctive style. Much of his music is inspired by Roman Catholicism and his devotion to the saints and festivals of that faith. Other works are inspired by ancient civilizations and literary classics. Allworth’s musical language is primarily built around luminous and colorful impressionistic harmonies slowed down to an often “glacial” pace. The music thus unfolds very slowly, with tremendous atmosphere and solemnity. It is music of profoundly meditative character, though his body of work covers the entire emotional gamut of meditation: from the ethereal and inward, to the bold and full. He has said: “To me, music must convey something about life, or create a poetic mood.”
For many years, Allworth was active as a record producer, releasing over 100 CD recordings of music by many Australian composers on the Jade label. He collaborated quite actively with the Sydney Mandolins, one of the world’s finest mandolin ensembles. In 1997, he received the prestigious Order of Australia Medal for his work as a composer and for his work as an advocate for the music of his homeland.
“Vision of Lourdes” (1989) is one of Allworth’s “Visions of Mary Immaculate.” This piece commemorates the Marian apparitions in Lourdes, France first reported in 1858 by Saint Bernadette Soubirous. A slow melody floats in the air, answered by fervent refrains.