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The earth that fire touches : for soprano soloist, SATB chorus, two pianos, and percussion / [music by] John Peterson ; [text by Peter Skryznecki]

by John Peterson (2000, this version: 2005)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

From the CD Federation celebration, 28th and 29th August 2002.

This sample is of the SATB Choir with soloists and orchestra version of this work

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Federation celebration, 28th and 29th August 2002.


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Federation celebration, 28th and 29th August 2002.

Version: This product features the SATB Choir with soloists and orchestra version of this work

Library shelf no. CD 1126 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (4 more)  

Work Overview

The Earth that Fire Touches evokes, in musical terms, some aspects of the Australian landscapes, especially those of the 'bush', the often heavily wooded areas that surround the cities where most of us live, and those of the flat and sparse semi-desert areas that are physically further away from us but always seem to be a part of our personal vision of what symbolises the true essence of Australia. The work is in three sections. The first section is mysterious, almost mystical, in its ritual approach to creating an atmosphere that reflects feelings one sometimes has when standing alone in the bush. Hearing the calls from birds and the noises made by other unseen animals whilst one is surrounded by thick undergrowth can create feelings of apprehension and expectation, especially at night. The second section is a fast celebratory dance of rebirth, acknowledging the extraordinary way that nature has of rejuvenating itself after the devastating effects of bushfire or from the incessant heat of the sun. Even today, drought and fire remain the two primary fears of anyone living and working on the land in Australia. The music, here, is repetitive and very rhythmic, often with ostinato patterns which remain on the same pitches for long periods of time creating a musical backdrop that attempts to reflect the wide-open spaces of inland Australia. The music of the final section refers to the opening of the work, and while the apprehensive feelings of that section are still prevalent, the music now allows for some sort of peaceful resolution to occur.

Work Details

Year: 2000, this version: 2005

Instrumentation: Soprano soloist, SATB choir, 2 pianos, percussion (4 players).

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge for performance by Synergy Percussion, Josephine Allan, Penelope Mills, Kate Golla, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Texts taken from Peter Skryznecki's poems: 'Armageddon' and 'The third day: God created the Earth'.


Performances of this work

6 Nov 05: Riverside Theatre, Parramatta. Featuring Penelope Mills, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Kate Golla, Josephine Allan, Synergy Percussion, Brett Weymark.

28 Aug 02: Bowman Hall, Blacktown, Sydney. Featuring Alison Morgan, MLC School Choir, MLC School Orchestra, Trinity Grammar School Choir, Trinity Grammar School Orchestra, Richard Gill.

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