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Babylon: the hanging gardens

Sheet Music: Score

Babylon: the hanging gardens : for orchestra / Brendan Colbert.

by Brendan Colbert (1997)

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  • Library Availability: Q 784.2/COL 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3 doubling cor anglais), 3 clarinets in B flat (3rd doubling bass clarinet in B flat), 3 bassoons (3rd doubling contra bassoon), 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion (2 players), piano, strings.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Sir William Southgate from the CD Live recordings for AMC archive


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Although Babylon (The Hanging Gardens) is not a programmatic piece it does naturally reflect (to some extent at least) my thoughts and attitudes during the years of its composition. For me, the ancient city is most strongly associated with conflicting images of beauty and corruption, and it is therefore perhaps significant that this piece was written in the Melbourne of the mid 1990's. Lyrics from English songwriter Peter Hammill were also very much in my mind during the period, some of this imagery doubtless finding its way into the piece as it progressed.


seventh wonder of the earth:

gardens ablaze in colour,

slowly rotting in the dirt…

…The hanging gardens sing,

but with a hollow ring…

[from MODERN, by Peter Hammill.]

…If you cross the stream

you never can return,

If you stay…

[from RUBICON, by Peter Hammill.]

…Jericho's strange,

throbbing with life at its heart:

people are drawn together,

simultaneously torn apart…

[from MODERN, by Peter Hammill.]

(as the title would suggest) is short and to the point, while Rubicon is somewhat deeper and darker. Jericho's Strange begins chaotically and in an aggressive and unsettled manner, this restlessness being eventually subdued, making way for a calmer texture that is more one of resignation than of resolution.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (118p. -- A3 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 15 mins, 30 sec.

Contents note:

I. Fuse -- II. Rubicon -- III. Jericho's strange.

First performance by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Sir William Southgate — 17 Nov 95. ABC Music Centre, Ferry Road, Brisbane

Includes programme note.

Each of the 3 movements may be played as a separate work in its own right.

3rd movt previously titled Sanctuary and revised for this work.

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Live recordings for AMC archive
CD: Live recordings for AMC archive : Disc 1 / Brendan Colbert.


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