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The Sands o' Dee : full orchestra

by Fred Hill (1987)

Audio Sample

Performance by Carl Hammond, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra from the CD Selected compositions 1972-1990

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Selected compositions 1972-1990


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Selected compositions 1972-1990 / Freddie Hill

Library shelf no. CD 1971 [Available for loan]

sands o' Dee


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The sands o' Dee : a symphonic sketch for light orchestra / by Frederick Hill.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/HIL 2 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

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.

Work Details

Year: 1987

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.

First performance: by Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Hammond — 4 Nov 90. Ravenswood Girls High School, Wahroonga, NSW

The form of the work, I think, recalls Alban Berg's Violin Concerto, particularly the climactic "death-blow" and final elegy.

Performances of this work

1997: featuring North Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Edie Rens.

4 Nov 90: Ravenswood School, Sydney. Featuring Carl Hammond, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.

4 Nov 90: Ravenswood Girls High School, Wahroonga, NSW. Featuring Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Hammond.

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