The Sydney Chamber Choir’s Garden of Soulprogram is a much-anticipated event, which finally presents the world premiere of the COVID-deferred piece by Joseph Twist, An Australian Song Cycle, commissioned for the choir with the support of the Maury family. Twist wrote about the piece for Limelight in June.

In a happy quirk of fate, the ensemble’s return to live performance also coincides with the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of music, and the 1913 birth of Benjamin Britten, both on November 22. Meandering through the Garden of the Soul, the 27-voice vocal ensemble – joined for the Twist piece by pianist Jem Harding and cellist Anthea Cottee – under the music direction of Sam Allchurch, performs choral music from the Renaissance and the present, dedicated to the intersecting themes of spring and fertility, love, loss and regeneration, feminine icons and sustainability.

Fast forward to the program’s centrepiece, An Australian Song Cycle,premiered sadly, in the absence of the composer. Twist’s setting of the words of eight giants of Australian literature...