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Five tales of human endeavor : for solo guitar

by Stuart Greenbaum (2005)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Ken Murray from the CD Thin blue line

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Thin blue line


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Thin blue line / Ken Murray plays the solo guitar music of Stuart Greenbaum.

Library shelf no. CD 2947 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Five Tales of Human Endeavor was commissioned by Katy Abbott as a present for her husband, Keith, and premiered in full by Ken Murray.

Yellow Canary. A bird traditionally taken down into the coal mines as a safety warning system. In Victoria, it is also a small yellow sticker affixed to the windscreen of a car that has been deemed by the police to be un-roadworthy.

Eleven months at sea. After circumnavigating the world non-stop in a small boat, 18-year-old Jesse Martin remarked that he had missed certain things - "things we take for granted now, which is probably a bit obvious, human contact, eye contact, you know, affection…good food."

Light, sweet crude is a type of petroleum. Oil is big business and crude oil is the world's most actively traded commodity. It is 'crude' assumedly because it is unrefined. But 'light' and 'sweet'? The mind boggles.

Into the Forest relates to desertion during the American Civil war. Huge numbers of troops (around 390,000) from both sides simply dropped their guns and fled into the forest. Many, of course, were caught by their own side and regulation demanded that they be shot. It is understandable though, that the forest must have seemed a haven - not only from the 'enemy' but also from one's own army.

The Thin Blue Line is a description of the Earth's ozone layer as seen from space. It is a relatively thin layer - part of a system that allows for life on planet Earth.

Work Details

Year: 2005

Instrumentation: Guitar.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Medium — AMEB Grade 4/5

Contents note: Yellow canary -- Eleven months at sea -- Light, sweet crude -- Into the forest -- The thin blue line.

Dedication note: Written for Keith Abbott

Commission note: Commissioned by Katy Abbott.

First performance: by Ken Murray — 10 Nov 14. Wyselaskie Auditorium, Melbourne

Major revision to first movt, and minor changes to other movts in 2009. Minor update for premiere of full set in 2014.

Performances of this work

10 Nov 14: Wyselaskie Auditorium, Melbourne. Featuring Ken Murray.

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