The listening land : for a cappella SATB choir
by Matthew Orlovich (1996)
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The listening land draws
together two different texts published over one hundred years
apart: excerpts from Ernest Giles's 'Australia Twice Traversed:
The Romance of Exploration, Being A Narrative Compiled From The
Journals Of Five Exploring Expeditions Into And Through Central
South Australia, and Western Australia, From 1872 To 1876'; and a
poem by Victor Carell, entitled 'The Listening Land'.
The narrative of the third expedition led by the Australian explorer Ernest Giles into the remote interior of South Australia in 1875, describes his thoughts and feelings on gazing at the stars. After travelling 220 miles without seeing water, Giles had grave forebodings concerning what lay ahead. He gazed that night at the beauty of the 'gorgeous constellations' which were his only source of repose and comfort.
Victor Carell's poem, 'The listening land', was inspired, according to the poet, by the timeless silence of Central Australia, experienced on an eight-month research trip in 1953, during which he lived with Aboriginal tribes. The poem, comprising four stanzas, evokes a sense of timelessness, through the portrayal of the landscape as still, quiet, listening and waiting.
Instrumentation: SATB choir.
Duration: 10 min.
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