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Stars : for choir and wind quintet

by Eve Christina Duncan (2016)

Work Overview

David Malouf's exquisite poem explores love. intimacy and eternity.

The stars that are above in the Melbourne night sky in December were given a mathematical parallel in the music of the woodwinds that accompany the choir in this setting of Malouf's poem. The star formations include the Southern Cross, Sirius (a tribute to Eve's daughter Siri), Pisces, Pisces Australis, the Crane and an upside down Orion, with his belt, Betelgeuse (his right arm), Rigel (his left foot) and Orion's head.


The stars have so far to go
alone or in harness
across a window pane.

Hour after hour tonight
I've journeyed with them, steady
the waves of your breath.

Dark space between our beds;
on the table a full tumbler
splits the light of stars

to stars, or floats
a column of dead water,
dead sky. From centuries

off, out of the reign
of one of the nineteen pharaohs,
a planet's dust, metallic,

alive, is sifted down,
hovers a bright
arc upon your cheek.

Miraculous! I lean
across the dark and touch it,
you smile in your sleep.

How far, how far we've come
together, tumbling like stars
in harness or alone.

By David Malouf

from Bicycle and Other Poems (1970)

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: SATB choir, piccolo, oboe, clarinet in A, bassoon, horn in F.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Commission note: Commissioned by Astra Choir.. Commissioned by Astra Choir

First performance: by Astra Choir at ASTRA Choir (Church of All Nations) on 4 Dec 2016

Performances of this work

4 Dec 2016: at ASTRA Choir (Church of All Nations). Featuring Astra Choir.

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