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...and the burnished earth shimmers (solo lute)

by Ruth Lee Martin (2009)

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The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

When I was first asked to compose this work we were in the midst of a heatwave that seemed endless. Across the grasslands of Canberra, from Goorooyaroo nature park reserve looking southward towards Black Mountain, the only movement came from the capricious wind - humans and animals too lethargic to move.

Sun-parched plains stir in endless hot days.

The capricious wind

Bends fragile grasses

Low against cracked, arid ground.

White cockatoos screech and flap in treetops.

A willy willy

Spins dust through the air

And the burnished earth shimmers.

The piece attempts to capture the atmosphere of this point in time by using, at first, very limited material. I wanted to explore the possibilities in using this limited material in a very gestural manner. The limited pitch material is gradually added to, first to complete a pentatonic scale, and then to construct a gapped scale used in much Scottish folk music from the Highlands of Scotland. Again the concern is with the exploration of gesture rather than with melody as such to give a sense of fluid motion within a shimmering haze. This work is not strictly programmatic, but conveys a composer's impression on a more abstract level.



Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Gaoyinruan (Chinese lute).

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: This work was commissioned by Pei Qian Chow.

First performance: by Pei Qian Chow at World Music Concert (Big Band Room) on 16 Oct 2009


Resonate article: Insight: music, landscape and the imagination by Ruth Lee Martin


Performances of this work

16 Oct 2009: at World Music Concert (Big Band Room). Featuring Pei Qian Chow.

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