When the 2022 Adelaide Festival programwas being devised, neither Festival directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, nor the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, could have anticipated the recent catastrophic floods in NSW and Queensland nor the outbreak of the horrific war in Ukraine. The combined effects of war and the unfolding climate crisis, together with the COVID pandemic, have been debilitating psychologically and emotionally, and have questioned any faith we might have. As the conductor of Prayer for the Living, Benjamin Northey, said to Limelightrecently, “The totality of the concert is really a prayer for the betterment of humankind through a reconnection to the ideals of love and peace.”

Soprano Stacey Alleaume performs during Prayer for the Living, at the 2022 Adelaide Festival. Prayer for the Living

The program was curated by composer Alan John and, in his illuminating program note, he discusses the background to the creation of each composition and the composers’ intentions. He quotes Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks,

‘I get the sense that events in the world slowly cause a loss of...