Narran Place : for SABar choir and chamber ensemble
by Nicholas Vines (2013)
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Library shelf no. 782.554/VIN 1 [Not for loan]
When Paul Hooper first asked me to write a piece for Caringbah
High, my immediate thought was to base it on something particular
to the Caringbah area, if not the School itself. The problem
there, however, was I lacked much knowledge of the region and
therefore didn'ʹt have anything meaningful to say...
So I started to do a bit of research, and before too long, was sitting in front of a PDF document from Sutherland Shire Council, which detailed the origins of every one of its street names. At this point, an idea struck me: I could turn my only marginally diminished ignorance into a boon by creating an imaginary Caringbah High from this well of local information.
Being particularly fascinated by Caringbah'ʹs Aboriginal street names, of which there are many, I took the images evoked by their English translations and arranged, extended and stretched them into a coherent text. The real find was 'ʹNarran Place'ʹ -‐‑ meaning Hungry Place, or more accurately, Hungry Place Place -‐‑ a defunct street in an area which is now the southern section of the School.
Naturally, I had to make this the work'ʹs focus! Alongside and sometimes preceding that process was the composition of the music, also inspired by these fleeting images. The big challenge then was to combine these two, somewhat independent parts to make a convincing whole.
The final product is consequently a depiction of a place that may or may not be fanciful. Who knows, after all, what kind of local, ancient wisdom is hidden in those street names? Perhaps it is what the site of Caringbah High used to be historically, even prehistorically, or maybe it'ʹs just pure fantasy. Either way, I hope it resonates with the current inhabitants of Narran Place.
Instrumentation: SABar choir, piano, percussion, bass guitar.
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