In the Carnarvon Ranges : mezzo-soprano voice with piano
by Betty Beath (1974)
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The Carnarvon Ranges are in Central Queensland, one of those pockets still relatively remote. Once it was the home of the Warrego tribe; now the remains of the tribe live at Augathella and work on surrounding cattle stations. The Manager of Babiloora Station prefers an all aboriginal mustering camp as he holds these men very reliable, and more at home in the country. "I was born a couple of hundred years too late", says Billy Geebung. To a large extent, he lives of the land - but alone.
Young Danlo Mailman was frightened of the goori gooris, ghosts, which still inhabit the country. He had more to fear from spirits in the bottle. Now he is dead and perhaps a ghost. When I was a boy I admired Billy and the Mailman brothers as horsemen. Now my point of view has shifted a little and I admire them in a different way.
David Cox, who wrote the text, provided the introductory note and he also made the dedication of his words to "Billy Geebung, we have both broken horses at Listowel Downs".
In the Carnarvon Ranges is a song in which there are just twenty-one words to sing and the work takes just over a minute in performance. Although the didjeridu is not an instrument of the Carnarvon Ranges, I have tried to suggest its sound and rhythm as a link with the spiritual life of the aborigines. If this work were to be used in the classroom, the scoring could be considered to be flexible. The piano part, for instance, might become a duet with the bass and treble lines given to separate players with the original scoring of treble and bass lines duplicated but performed an octave apart; another suggestion is that the bass line might be performed successfuly on cello or bassoon. The work has been performed with the addition of improvisation on didjeridu as an introduction to the work and a slide show of the spectacular Carnarvon landscape as an additional visual display.
Instrumentation: Medium Voice (male or female), piano, claves or aboriginal rhythm sticks which the singer could play.
Duration: 1 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Josef Aronoff
Commission note: Commissioned by Josef Aronoff.
- Influenced by: Queensland
Performances of this work
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