Instrumentation: Wind Symphony
Commissioned and performed by the Adelaide Wind Symphony as part of their 'A Sunburnt Country' concert. December 1st 2018
Conductor: Veronica Boulton
Recording: Ray Thomas
When I was approached by the Adelaide Wind Orchestra to compose this piece with the theme ‘A Sunburnt Country’ the first thing that popped into my head was the sound of cicadas. To me the ‘Sunburnt Country’ conjures up images of my farm in upper New South Wales, where the heat is intense, the grass is brown and orange and the cicadas are deafening. Those images and sounds are what my piece, Cicadas, is inspired by.
Cicadas begins with an exploration of the sounds and textures of the cicada song. Throughout the piece we hear the cicada song build in textures and layers as each instrument of the ensemble contributes to re-create their deafening sounds. Throughout the piece, an intense, percussive climax is grows, representative of the harshness of the land during these ‘sunburnt’ periods.
There is an unexpected change, symbolising the sudden rain which breaks the intense heat and brings relief. Everything softens as smooth, lyrical melodies and harmonies can be heard layered upon each other. The is relief evident as the mugginess clears and life begins to reappear. Vibrant colours of the ensemble become evident and the harshness of previous section seems to have vanished. All throughout we can still faintly hear the cicadas singing their song, waiting for the hottest part of the day to come round again.
Performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
A glacier is a huge mass of ice that moves slowly over land. The term “glacier” comes from the French word glace which means ice. Glaciers are often called “rivers of ice.”
Since visiting Denali National Park (Alaska) in 2016 I have always wanted to compose a piece about Glaciers. I vividly remeber looking out onto the impressive Denali mountain range, all mostly shaped by glacial movement. If you looked carefully you could see two glaciers, Sunset glacier and Muldrow glacier and if you were quiet enough you could hear the ice breaking off the glaciers as the temperature rose.
In winter, Glaciers are large and intimidating, moving very slowly under the influence of gravity to carve lakes and shape mountains ranges. In summer they melt and retreat in size, forming small streams and waterfalls. In both seasons they are colourful, made up of many shades of greys, blues, whites and blacks.
Glaciers transports you back to Denali National Park, where you can imagine gazing up at these spectacular mountain ranges and glaciers, taking in the the complex colours and shades of the ice, jagged outlines against clear skies and the sheer magnitude of their size. Although there is a dramatic energy and presence, there is also a softness and subtlety to them as although they are large in size, they move very slowly over centuries, melting bit by bit, ebbing and flowing with the seasons. It is through Glaciers that I hope to share with you a special part of my Alaskan experience.
The Reef (2016-2017)
Commissioned and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of their Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers project.
Over the past few years and more recently in the media many scientists and
journalists have pronounced the Great Barrier Reef as either dead or dying. After 25 million years of existence, the wondrous world heritage site has suffered a continual state of degradation from coral bleaching, assaults from the crown of thorn starfish and increases in carbon levels due to the rising temperatures of global warming, causing the water to become acidic and thus harmful to the life forms that reside in the Great Barrier Reef.
As The Reef is my musical expression of the frustration and sadness I feel upon hearing constant news of the demise of the Great Barrier Reef, I hope to project a sense of urgency on the situation the reef faces by telling the story of what has been, what is, and what could be.Although the Great Barrier Reef is large, it is extremely fragile and without implementing drastic measures to save what remains, we will lose one of the most spectacular wonders of our planet.
Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion, Violin, Cello
Performed at Ensemble Offsprings 'Future Retro Concert' (2015) and Ensemble Offspring's 'Arc Electric' concert (2017) as part of the All About Women Festival (Sydney Opera House)
‘Avialae' translated from Latin means ‘bird wings’ and is a reference to the scientific classification of birds as ‘Clade Avialae’. The piece incorporates the bird songs of five endangered Australian species; Painted Snipe, Swift Parrot, Carnbary’s Cockatoo, Regent Honey Eater and the Ground Parrot. Currently these species are threatened by decreasing habitation, competition from other species and introduced feral species. Each birdcall is imitated and improvised by the performers and, throughout the piece, are transformed from literal interpretations to conventional musical melodies. Avialae explores a disappearing natural sound world and hopes to bring to attention our environmental situation, where if nothing is done to protect our ecosystems, these songs may permanently be silenced, only to exist in our imagination.
Ostara's Equinox (2013)
Instrumentation: Wind Symphony
According to Norse Mythology, Ostara (also know as Eostre) was the Germanic Godess of Spring and fertility who was celebrated during the Vernal (spring) Equinox. Ostara represented rebirth in nature, equality and fertility that came with the coming of spring, heralded by the equinox. During the equinox, the hours of light becomes equal to night, symbolising a perfect equilibrium in dark and light, masculinity and femininity and inner and outer balance. Ostara’s Equinox explores the celebration of Ostara and the Spring equinox.
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Concepts on an individual’s aura can be found in many different religions and spiritual beliefs and are generally associated with notions of a spiritual field of luminous radiation that surrounds an individual, reflecting their personality traits, thoughts and feelings. Auras, composed for string quartet, sonically explore these notions through two distinct movements.