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Brisbane songs : ensemble version

by Robert Davidson (2008)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Collusion, Emma Baker-Spink from the CD I read the old dream slowly

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I read the old dream slowly


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Work Overview

Three poems are collected and set in Brisbane Songs. Les Murray's 'Nocturne' starts the set in a reflective mood. The poem is an ode-like enumeration of iconic features of Brisbane, centring on the river, and dwelling on the major impact of World War Two on the city, touching evocatively on many other aspects of Brisbane's identity in the process. The inescapable river is strongly present in 'Streets of Brisbane' by Kevin Hart, represented in the music by a series of widely-spaced, static chords that overtake the texture at several points. The third poem, 'Leaving West End', by Bronwyn Lea, takes quite a different turn, focusing on two frozen moments of observation. Set at an inner-suburban bus stop, the first observation is of a young, typically Brisbanian couple intense in their embrace of the present moment; it is interrupted by the recounting of an experience of heroin-accompanied eroticism.

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: Soprano voice, clarinet, violin, cello, piano.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Medium — Some parts - piano for example - are harder than others

Contents note: Nocturne -- The streets of Brisbane -- Leaving West End.

Commission note: Commissioned by Collusion.

First performance: by Collusion — 4 Sep 08. Visy Theatre Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane

The composer cites the following influences on the work: Art song, polystylism, Ned Rorem, Nick Cave, Neil Finn, Elliott Carter, John Rodgers.


Performances of this work

7 Oct 2012: at Collusion All Australian Music CD Launch (Fireworks Gallery). Featuring Collusion.

23 Oct 2011: at From the Sublime to the Ridiculous (Trinity Church (Fortitude Valley)).

4 Sep 08: Visy Theatre Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane. Featuring Collusion.

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