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No ordinary traveller : for mezzo-soprano and mixed trio

by Katy Abbott (2006)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Halcyon from the CD Sunburnt aftertones

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Sunburnt aftertones


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Sunburnt aftertones / Katy Abbott.

Library shelf no. CD 2148 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

This work in four movements follows the journey of four women on a ship from England to Australia in the early 1850s. It documents their fears, hopes, loss and anticipation at beginning life in a new country. It looks at their quirky, beautiful and gut-wrenching experiences.

Work Details

Year: 2006

Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano, clarinet/bass clarinet in B flat, percussion, piano.

Duration: 24 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1: No ordinary traveller -- 2: Ship life -- 3: One dark sky -- 4. An end that marks a start.

Commission note: Commissioned for Halcyon with funds provided by Arts Victoria.

First performance: by Halcyon — 27 Sep 06. Trackdown Scoring Stage and Studios, Sydney

Revised 2010


Performances of this work

22 Sep 2011: at Syzygy Ensemble- Higher Ground (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Syzygy Ensemble.

User reviews

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My favourite Australian art song repertoire

Posted by Australian Music Centre on 22 July, 2013

The AMC asked leading practitioners to select their favourite Australian art song repertoire, to provide delegates to the 2013 International Conference of Vocal Teachers (Brisbane 2013) with an introduction to this rich and diverse landscape.
A lovely and substantial cycle for mezzo and small chamber ensemble in four movements.  The texts are derived from diaries of female immigrants on the journey to Australia in the mid nineteenth century as they journey to an unknown land. The singer has the chance to reflect the different characters of these travellers as they express their simple hopes and longings, deep griefs and trivial daily experiences.  Abbott’s melodies are graceful and eminently singable and the instruments add great colour to the accompanying lines, although it can require some time to co-ordinate the ensemble.  The piece moves from moments of great stillness when the sea is ‘at ease’ to more rollicking dances.
Jenny Duck-Chong