A Distant Shore, op. 44 : for baritone and orchestra
by Andrew Schultz (1991)
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Performance by The Hunter Orchestra, Garrick Jones, Roland Peelman from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 82
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A Distant Shore
commenced as an idea for a collaborative project between Louis
Nowra, Garrick Jones and myself in 1987. Subsequent grants from
the Australia Council Literature and Performing Arts Boards
provided the means for its creation. It was originally conceived
as a work which could be performed as either a song-cycle or in a
staged music-theatre version scored for small ensemble and
baritone and subsequently grew into the current version for small
orchestra (consisting of three brass, harp, piano, percussion and
strings) and baritone. Most of the music was composed in 1988
immediately after another large piece, the opera Black River. The
lyrical and lush musical style of A Distant Shore was partly a
reaction to the bruising directness of Black River; nonetheless,
the works do share many thematic and structural similarities. The
score was revised and another interlude added at the beginning of
Louis' interests in the intermingled topics of the sea, desire, love and memory produced many rich associations for me. Hence, a number of my earlier works such as Sea-Change for piano and Sea Call for three brass are recalled and reworked in A Distant Shore to which they form a type of commentary; the composer is remembering as is the man portrayed in Nowra's sensitive text. Memory is important on another level, the work is in 11 movements which apart from the song settings is made up of a prelude for brass and two orchestral interludes (the second is a reworking of the first, like deja vu). There is a continual transformation and overlapping of ideas framed by a strong sense of symmetrical arch shape with the deliberately sentimental sixth movement, Barcarole (scored only for baritone with prepared piano and percussion accompaniment), as a pivot. To further suggest the ideas of memory and time, use is made of off-stage brass in movements 7 - 9; the effect is meant to be like one of those strange fleeting memories that never seem to get further than the edge of memory but leave one with a bitter taste of grief. This seemed an appropriate analogy for the internal drama of a man caught between past and present but now (as Nowra puts it), "mostly past".
Instrumentation: Baritone voice, trumpet, French horn, tenor trombone, percussion (1 player), piano (doubling African thumb piano), harp, violins 1 and 2, viola, cello, double bass.
Duration: 45 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Contents note: Sea call -- Steps -- Two small hands -- The sea is made from memories -- Interlude 1 -- Behind the dunes -- Barcarole -- Bad memories -- A distant shore -- Drowning -- Interlude 2 -- Bright, bright, brilliant.
- In the form/style of: Song Cycles
Performances of this work
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