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Tarraleah : chamber orchestra

by Maria Grenfell (2014)



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Tarraleah / Maria Grenfell.

Library shelf no. 784.3/GRE 1 [Available for loan]


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Work Overview

In the early 1900s, electricity was just arriving in Tasmania. The state government began building power stations in the midlands, opening the Airst power station at Waddamana in 1916. Thus began one of Tasmania's most important continuing construction programs, but with the Second World War the progress slowed due to lack of manpower, equipment and materials. In 1948 a British transport ship docked at Elizabeth Street Pier in Hobart with 300 Polish ex-servicemen from post-war Europe. Initially expecting to work in New South Wales, they had been persuaded to travel to Tasmania (supposedly "mild and not as hot") to work on the expanding hydro-electric scheme in Tarraleah, Waddamana and Butlers Gorge. The construction of the subsequent dams and power stations could not have happened without these and many other immigrants, who made new lives for themselves and worked hard, despite the cold, and, at times, difficult and dangerous conditions. I was fascinated by many of their stories, both hair-raising and humorous. There is an old Polish prayer hymn, Bogurodzica, that originated somewhere between the 10th and 13th centuries, and calls on Christ to give people a blissful stay on earth and everlasting existence in heaven. It seemed appropriate to draw on this hymn for musical inspiration in tribute to the invaluable contribution of those who settled in this state.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, strings (

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.. Commissioned to commemorate the centenary of Principal Partner, Hydro Tasmania (2014)

First performance: by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Marko Letonja — 6 Nov 14. Burnie Arts Centre, Tasmania

Performances of this work

6 Nov 14: Burnie Arts Centre, Tasmania. Featuring Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Marko Letonja.

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