Five minutes past midnight : A radiophonic story
by Jaroslav Kovaricek and Becky Llewellyn (1991)
This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.
Five minutes past midnight / [Becky Llewellyn]. Pacific moment [sic] / [Gary Bryson and Donna McLachlan]
Library shelf no. CDL 9 [Available for loan]
Five Minutes past Midnight dwells in the twilight world of Australian politics in the 1950s, when Prime Minister Menzies agreed to let British nuclear scientists, headed by Sir William Penney, explode lethal nuclear bombs over the homeland of the Maralinga Tjarutja people. The story includes Betty Sumner, Ngarrindjeri woman, telling the story of Icarus, as if our Western myth was her dreamtime. As Icarus gets too close to the sun, so the over-reach of these scientists brings its own meltdown.
The story includes taped interviews with Len Beadell, original surveyor of Maralinga, a surviving airman and archival footage of scientists and sounds of the bomb itself. Becky Llewellyn studied aboriginal music from Kooniba and Ooldea desert country and wrote these sparse melodies for cello, played by Janis Laurs. The eerie sound of the country was extrapolated from bowed piano played by Stephen Whittington. Clapsticks transmuted into the sound of Geiger counters.
Commissioned by sound artist Jaroslav Kovaricek for ABC Classic FM, it was part of a movement of artistic works that raised consciousness about what happened at Maralinga. In 2009, after several years of clean-up works by British and Australian governments, the land was handed back to the original owners.
Instrumentation: Cello, bowed piano, Aboriginal clapsticks.
Duration: 55 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Jaroslav Kovaricek.. Jaroslav Kovaricek, for Inner Space program on ABC Classic FM.
Performances of this work
Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.
To post a comment please login.