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On Bunyah : Tenor, string quartet, piano

by Luke Styles (2018)

Work Overview

This new song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore (and the Britten Sinfonia in a chamber formation of string quartet and piano) sets a series of 10 poems by Australian poet Les Murray, from his most recent collection, On Bunyah.

The cycle charts a loose narrative and progression of themes, where the tenor can be identified as a 'poet farmer' character. This central figure gives voice to many aspects of Australia (the bush, land, kangaroos, fire, death, machinery and the 20th/21st Century) without sentimentality. The distinctive Australian flavour of this collection of poems embraces the similar experiences and challenges of other rural communities with the 'poet farmer' functioning as both a rural and modern day 'every-man'.

Work Details

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: Tenor voice, 2 violins, viola, cello, piano.

Duration: 30 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. The Kettle's Bubble-Making Floor -- 2. Being Spared the Inquest -- 3. The Grief -- 4. The Moon Man -- 5. The Iron Kitchens -- 6. The Sleepout 7. Worker Knowledge -- 8. The Forest Hit by Modern Use -- 9. From Machine Portraits -- 10. Cockspur Bush.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Linda Christmas

Commission note: Commissioned by Britten Sinfonia.

First performance: by Mark Padmore, Britten Sinfonia at On Bunyah (West Road Concert Hall (Cambridge, UK)) on 20 Nov 2018


Resonate article: 2019 Paul Lowin Prizes - finalists announced by Australian Music Centre


Performances of this work

23 Nov 2018: at On Bunyah (St Andrew's Hall, Norwich). Featuring Mark Padmore, Britten Sinfonia.

21 Nov 2018: at On Bunyah (Wigmore Hall). Featuring Mark Padmore, Britten Sinfonia.

20 Nov 2018: at On Bunyah (West Road Concert Hall (Cambridge, UK)). Featuring Mark Padmore, Britten Sinfonia.

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