Hanging in the Balance : for guitar duo
by Richard Charlton (2022)
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The guitar duo Hanging in the Balance is based on the Sue Needham artwork, "Threads of Australia". Needham's work threads together images and materials from all over Australia, both natural and urban. When seeing this I was struck by the way the pictured objects were threaded together, hanging in several rows of different lengths.
My work draws on this concept of interaction between very different ideas and the way our continent is an amalgam of landscapes, people, weather, and more importantly ideas and views. The piece, while having at its core a single musical thread, weaves together sounds from contrasting ideas. My title also refers to the fact that at present, given our global climate situation, we are all hanging in the balance?
The musical thread is modelled on "Barabul-la" an ancient chant or song supposedly sung by Bennelong and Yemmerawanne back in 1793. The opening is an imitation of this chant, muted colours and monotone patterns give way to more bustling urban rhythms.
As the artwork shows quite a few trees, along with shorelines, skies and even the iconic Uluru, I have tried to embody in the music a sense of being grounded, like a rock while trunks and branches spread to the sky.
Instrumentation: 2 guitars
Duration: 6 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Matt Withers & Callum Henshaw
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:
“Barabul-la” an ancient chant or song supposedly sung by Bennelong and Yemmerawanne
Prizes/Awards: 1st Prize - Matt Withers 2022 Australian Composition Competition
- Inspired by: Indigenous Australian Culture
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