Australian Bushfire for violin and piano
Chamber Music / Instrumental Music / Strings - violin and piano
"Australian Bushfire", for violin and piano - duration approx. 6 minutes
Composed January 2002
Recorded for CD at Studio 301 in Sydney, November 2003
Artists: Glen Murray (Australian violinist), Natalia Raspopova (Russian pianist)
To download the first two pages of this music as a PDF document, select this link --> australian_bushfire.pdf
To listen to the first two pages of this music, download and play this MP3 audio file --> australian_bushfire.mp3
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In composing "Australian Bushfire" Rosalind Carlson takes you into her past background with vivid childhood memories of many bushfires which passed by her home in Wahroonga (N.S.W., Australia)
This music is somewhat volatile, for I am tracing the course of the bushfire from its inception in the distance to its devastating damage as it passes in fury. Then the crying of the land once the fire passes, and the future renewal of the bush that will follow in time, with the regrowth of new shoots.
As a child our family lived in the bush. Each summer I witnessed bushfires at close range. It was one of the most dramatic happenings in my young life. The smell of the fire would first alert us. Because we lived on a high ridge with a panoramic view over the local valleys we could see the smoke travelling in the gullies towards our home in Wahroonga (N.S.W. Australia).
So I witnessed these events annually, watching fires develop with flames leaping from treetops to treetops, the crackling in the undergrowth, the wind turbulence fanning the flames, the heat, excitement and colour, and the blackness of the scorched land, once the bushfire had passed on.
These experiences, vividly remembered, I have endeavoured to generate into this composition for violin and piano. Mood changes to describe the various stages and the developments of the bushfire are found throughout. Brief notes are written on the score to enable a clear insight to the performer for an accurate interpretation of Australian Bushfire.
The various stages of this bushfire in the music score are:
- Impending danger - smoke filled air - fire approaching from a distance in the valley. The piano sets the sinister atmosphere from the outset of the work. This is followed by the alerting double stopping violin figure, and doloroso theme on violin played to pulsating syncopated pianistic chords
- Action - fire igniting, followed by much wind turbulence fanning the flames.
- The fury of the bushfire - flames leaping into the trees; flames igniting from treetops to treetops; the crackling in the undergrowth - heat generated energy - the heat, excitement and colour.
- Desolation - the fire has passed. It has left behind the blackness of the scorched land. The burnt land now cries. Here the violin and piano take up a short motif where the two instruments cry to each other.
- In the final section, under soft syncopated throbbing pianistic chords, the violin returns with its initial main theme. This theme now low in pitch gives the hope that in time the black burnt land will rejuvenate to its former beauty.
- The World Premiere Performance of "Australian Bushfire" was given on Friday 21 July 2006 at 9pm. The venue was the Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, held in Tuscany, Italy. This event occurred in a chamber concert entitled "An Evening of World Premieres". Rosalind's Australian Bushfire was the only Australian composition performed at this event. The performers were Beth Schneider (violin) and Nathanael May (pianist).
- The Australian Premiere Performance of "Australian Bushfire" given by Doreen Cumming, violin, and Meriel Owen, piano, on 25th September 2009 at the Professional Grapevine series at the Regional Conservatorium of Music in Orange NSW Australia. In the audience there were a number of people who had experienced the Canberra bush fires and they were intensely interested in this work, discussing the music with the composer after the performance. In fact, the audience overall found the interpretation of this music to be most realistic.
Availability: Music score and CD readily available from Flexi-Fingers Publications. See order form.
CDs and Scores are available for viewing at the library of the Australian Music Centre, including the above work. Follow the link below for a complete listing of works by Rosalind Carlson available from the library: