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Work

Mallee farm at dusk : from The Mallee sings

by Becky Llewellyn (1993)

Mallee farm at dusk

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Work Overview

There is nothing quite like the Australian arid land at sunset that can provoke reveries, melancholy and awe. The mallee is a place of horizon and scrub, light and birds and a skyful of silence. Mallee farm at dusk takes the listener back to such a sunset, the sounds of the horses hooves in the choir, the call of the bronze-wing pigeon in the clarinet. As the rider moves through this landscape, he arrives at a squat pug hut and is struck by an eager bird bursting into song. The clarinet goes into a long rapture based on mallee pigeon recordings and the rider confesses that every sunset is now full of memories of that birdsong or a rabbit's cry, a plover swooping or drowsy clouds passing by. The dusk falls with the choir singing of the full blown petals of a windmill stirless in the lonely west and a final chirping birdcall. It is a very evocative song of a place and a time of the day when memories linger as the sun sets. The text by Jindyworobak poet Flexmore Hudson is an insider's knowing of the mallee, as he taught there for many years and the musicality of his imagery anchors the song in beauty.

Work Details

Year: 1993

Instrumentation: SATB choir, piano, clarinet in A.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Medium — Professional clarinetist required

Commission note: Commissioned by Adelaide Chorus, Russell Larkin.

First performance: by Hamline University A Capella Choir, George Chu, Tania McLain, Alanna Seppala — 5 May 96. Sundin Music Hall, St Paul, Minnesota, USA

Performances of this work

5 Sep 98: North Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne, Victoria. Featuring Melbourne Chamber Choir, Rina D'Cruz, Jonathon Bradley, Faye Dumont.

Nov 96: Parksville Washington USA. Featuring Adelaide Harmony Choir, John Hall.

Nov 96: St Thomas Church, Seattle Washington USA. Featuring Adelaide Harmony Choir, John Hall.

Nov 96: Victoria British Columbia Canada. Featuring Adelaide Harmony Choir, John Hall.

Nov 96: Microsoft Corporation - Seattle Washington USA. Featuring Adelaide Harmony Choir, John Hall.

5 May 96: Sundin Music Hall, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. Featuring Hamline University A Capella Choir, George Chu, Tania McLain, Alanna Seppala.

25 Jul 93: ABC Studio 520 Collinswood, South Australia. Featuring Haig Burnell, Greg Roberts, Adelaide Chorus, Russell Larkin.

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