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The Drover's wife (full orchestra with narrator)

by Stephen Cronin (1987)

drover's wife


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The drover's wife / Stephen Cronin ; text: Henry Lawson's short story, adapted.

Library shelf no. Q 783.9654/CRO 1 [Available for loan]

drover's wife


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Work Overview

Henry Lawson's short story, The Drover's Wife, has always reminded me of my childhood years spent on a farm. The central idea of Lawson's story, a family held at siege by a snake, is an aspect of growing up which I remember vividly.

When writing the work for narrator and orchestra I attempted to allow the story to unfold in much the same way as would a film. Musical ideas reoccur as needed according to references in the text, e.g. any mention of the loneliness of the bush is accompanied by similar musical ideas. There are other spot references such as thunder in the distance, wind blowing a candle, a storm, the thud of a stick as the family tries to kill the snake, etc. These recurrent ideas helped to unify the work.

Work Details

Year: 1987

Instrumentation: Narrator, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in B flat, percussion (1 player), strings (

Duration: 14 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: "To RGM".

Commission note: Commissioned by Queensland Theatre Orchestra with funds provided by Myer Foundation.

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