Araluen was commissioned in 2000 for performance by St Peter’s Chorale, directed by Graeme Morton. Scored for a cappella SATB choir, the work is a setting of the first verse of Roland Robinson’s poem “Araluen”.
The text of the verse describes the poet’s journey to “Araluen”, a gold-rush shanty town in southern New South Wales, Australia.
A languorous day. The sky without a cloud.
Winding, doubling round, the red-brown road
climbed through sun and bird song-shafted gloom
towards receding smoke haze and grape bloom
mountains. Then, emerged at last, it ran
into a valley drenched by a blazing sun.
Roland Robinson, “ARALUEN” [1st verse], in Selected Poems, North Ryde, NSW, A&R Modern Poets, 1989. p.23-4.
Modulations in music often suggest to me ideas of journeying or of changing gears and I have used a series of modulations throughout my setting of Araluen. I also like to use syncopated rhythms for their ability to energise and move the music along.
I thank Graeme Morton for commissioning the work and HarperCollins Publisher for granting me permission to set Roland Robinson’s text.
Other choirs who perform this score…
Araluen (for a cappella SATB choir) has been performed by many groups, including:
• The Australian Boys Choir & The Vocal Consort, directed by Noel Ancell
• ATV/16-26, directed by Joan Wright
• Brisbane Chamber Choir, directed by Graeme Morton
• Canberra Choral Society, directed by Peter Pocock & Tobias Cole
• Da Capo Singers, directed by Simon Loveless
• National Youth Choir of Australia, directed by Graeme Morton
• Oriana Chorale, directed by Tobias Cole
• St Peters Chorale, directed by Graeme Morton
• The Resonants, directed by Helen Swan
• Trinity Grammar School Chapel Choir