The Sands o' Dee : full orchestra
by Fred Hill (1987)
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Library shelf no. CD 1971 [Available for loan]
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Library shelf no. Q 784.2/HIL 2 [Available for loan]
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This work is based on a poem by Charles Kingsley (of Water-Babies fame) about a young girl who, sent out to fetch her father's cattle from across the Dee estuary, is lost in the mist and drowned by the incoming tide. The poem is reproduced in The Thurber Carnival, and is enlivened by the quirky illustrations of the American humorist James Thurber. A bus trip across the central tablelands of New South Wales in winter evoked the bleak landscape of Northern England. It is in a single movement with frequent thematic linkages. The final section recalls the elegiac final couplet
"But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home
Across the sands o'Dee.
Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones (tenor and bass), timpani (at least 3), percussion (1 player), strings.
Duration: 8 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Some divisi in upper strings. Exposed horn solos.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Judith Harpur (partner d.1987)
Commission note: Commissioned by Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.. Commissioned by Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.
The form of the work, I think, recalls Alban Berg's Violin Concerto, particularly the climactic "death-blow" and final elegy.
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