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Darwin 1942 : for wind symphony

by Cathy Applegate (2021)

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Work Overview

The Arafura Wind Ensemble approached me towards the end of last year, requesting an original composition that would be included in the 80th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin commemorations. Much of my initial research was directed at trying to get a sense of the atmosphere of that time. Darwin in 1942 was a small tropical town with the uneasy anticipation of war looming from the north. I have endeavoured to express this in my music. After a brief fanfare, I introduce a theme with an ambiguous tonal centre, imparting a feeling of uncertainty. Japanese taiko drums sound within this texture and then in their own solo passage. The first solo rhythm you hear is thoughtful and gentle. It is borrowed from a Japanese lady, a close relative of one of the players in the taiko group. In war, suffering is ubiquitous. The taiko drums build the tension in the middle section together with the low brass. The dissonance and rhythms express the fear and suffering of war. The last section returns to the original theme but this time a sense weariness pervades. The Coda is hymnlike as we reflect on the loss of life and the gallantry of those who suffered through this time.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, bassoon, 3 clarinets in B flat, 2 bass clarinets, 2 alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 3 trumpets in B flat, 2 horns in F, 2 trombones, bass trombone, euphonium in B flat, tuba, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, 2 taiko drums, harp.

Duration: 7 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Commission note: Commissioned by Arafura Ensemble.. Commissioned by the Arafura Wind Ensemble and the City of Darwin, to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

First performance: by Arafura Ensemble, Stephen Pevely — 18 Feb 22. Anglican Christchurch Cathedral Darwin, NT

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etcin relation to this work:
Diatonic and accessible.

Performances of this work

18 Feb 22: Anglican Christchurch Cathedral Darwin, NT. Featuring Arafura Ensemble, Stephen Pevely.

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