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The piper at the gates of dawn : suite for piano solo

by Wendy Hiscocks (1995)

Audio Sample

Performance by Jeanell Carrigan from the CD But I want the harmonica...

But I want the harmonica...


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But I want the harmonica... : Australian post-1970 solo piano works.

Library shelf no. CD 471 [Available for loan]

piper at the gates of dawn


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The piper at the gates of dawn : suite for piano solo / Wendy Hiscocks.

Library shelf no. 786.2185/HIS 1 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a suite of four movements and was inspired by a magical chapter from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. In a scene far removed from the antics of Mr Toad, two of the animal characters journey through a summer night to the breaking of dawn, drawn on irresistibly by a mysterious glad piping to a vision of Pan, protector of all wild creatures. Prelude evokes twilight, punctuated by moths and wheeling bats; Nocturne paints the river as the moon gradually rises and sails overhead; Caprice brings first light, hints of a morning breeze, and the mysterious piping. The Finale follows Kenneth Grahame's closing poem, with the reeds' talk and the carolling of the morning birds as accompaniment to the song (whose words are not meant to be vocalised).
Caprice was the first movement of the suite completed in 1990. The Prelude and Nocturne followed and were premièred at London's 1992 Spitalfields Festival. The 2003 version of the Finale replaced an earlier version of 1995 which was less pianistic, and this later version was first performed at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide, as part of the Australasian Pedagogy Conference on July 15, 2005.
Roy Howat both inspired and premièred all the movements of the suite and the score is dedicated to him with admiration.

Work Details

Year: 1995

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — L.Mus.A

Contents note: Prelude -- Nocturne -- Caprice -- Finale.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Roy Howat

First performance: by Roy Howat — 1992. London's 1992 Spitalfields Festival

Revised 2003


Performances of this work

2 Sep 2018: at Hiscocks and Mo (Gerringong Town Hall). Featuring Wendy Hiscocks.

19 Aug 2018: at Hiscocks and Mo (St Jude's, Bowral). Featuring Wendy Hiscocks.

1992: London's 1992 Spitalfields Festival. Featuring Roy Howat.

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