Capricorn dreaming (violin with string orchestra)
by Betty Beath (2012)
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Library shelf no. 784.7272/BEA 1 [Available for loan]
Capricorn Dreaming, a cycle of five pieces for String
Orchestra was commissioned by the Rockhampton Strings.
In thinking about a piece which might have resonance with the Rockhampton Strings I was inevitably drawn to the particular and beautiful landscapes which abound in areas adjacent to the Tropic of Capricorn; I thought too of Rockhampton itself, a city on the central Queensland coast, with important historic links to the past and yet vitally significant in Queensland's current development.
1. 'From an Ancient Land' is influenced by the imagery of an
emerging landscape and the indigenous people who first lived in
places close to the Tropic of Capricorn. This short introduction
to the cycle is in two sections: the first, an adagio, is
influenced by impressions of an emerging landscape which melds
with a second, energetic rhythmic section influenced by rhythms
connected with the didgeridu and the fundamental tonality of that
ancient instrument. The strings in this section are augmented to
include aboriginal rhythm sticks.
2. 'The Bride of Byfield', the second piece in the cycle is again influenced by images; Byfield is the name of a great forest area near Rockhampton, Queensland. Over time it has been the subject of controversy when loggers wanted to go in to take the timber and conservationists wanted to preserve the forest. Additionally I was influenced by the beautiful and highly visual images of a poem titled 'The Bride of Byfield' by Queensland poet Jena Woodhouse. Musically the piece flows freely with changes of tempo and textures, frequent harmonic change and a sensitive approach to dynamic colour.
3. 'For years have I wandered…but I cannot forget you' seeks a dramatic interpretation with highlights provided by the solo violin. I sought to write an expressive work which could relate to the vital impact memory may have as we look back to recall the vital, heart-felt experience of significant place.
4. 'Do You Remember?' This is a question we all ask and again it suggests how the use of memory, often unbidden, brings to mind people and places we may encounter in dreams or in the reflection of times past. With a leisurely tempo the piece moves through a changing key structure and there are opportunities for the solo violin to dialogue with both viola and cello.
5. 'And the Dream Continues…' A long introduction for solo violin and cello continues, to some extent, the mood, musical line and direction established in the preceding work. However the work concludes with the full complement of strings in an energetic, vital performance of what I think of as the Aboriginal inspired second part of the 1st Movement, From an Ancient Land.
Instrumentation: Solo violin, string orchestra, percussion.
Duration: 12 min.
Contents note: 1. From an ancient land (2 min., 40 sec.) -- 2. The bride of Byfield (3 min., 13 sec.) -- 3. For years have I wandered...but I cannot forget you (2 min., 50 sec.) -- 4. Do you remember? (2 min.) -- 5. And the dream continues (3 min., 8 sec.).
Commission note: Commissioned by Rockhampton String Orchestra.
First performance: by Rockhampton String Orchestra — Sep 13.
- Inspired by: Queensland
Performances of this work
Sep 13: featuring Rockhampton String Orchestra.
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