Links (for a cappella choir, 2000), was commissioned for performance by the massed choir of the 51st Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival, Brisbane, 2000.
The work is a setting of John Kinsella’s poem “Links”. Born in 1963, John Kinsella grew up in Perth, Western Australia. He attended high school in suburban Perth and, for three years, a country high school (Geraldton Senior High) before studying Arts and History at the University of Western Australia. With his family, he maintained close ties with the pioneering farming areas to the west of Perth. Over a short span of years, his writings have quickly brought him to international prominence and he has many major literary awards and prizes to his credit. John Kinsella is currently a Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge.
When selecting text to set to music, I try to seek out poetry which is immediately captivating, yet timelessly intriguing. John Kinsella’s “Links” reflects on an environment of fascinating beauty and austerity; a place where “the world buckles under the sun”, where birds “fly deep into desert” and where “sand becomes an astrolabe to the stars”.
Throughout my setting of the poem, I call upon some varied musical ideas: lively, syncopated music, uninhibited singing of chant-like rhythms, drifting melodies against spinning harmonies, drones which stretch across the scene like long telegraph wires, and sounds of crackling embers and flooding waters.
I would like to thank John Kinsella and Fremantle Arts Centre Press for granting me permission to set the poem “Links”.