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Audio Library

Wild Cherries and Honeycomb

from "Twelve Transcendental Concert Studies on Themes from the Australian Poets"

Again, the title comes from John Shaw Neilson, but the poem from which it comes is a 'ballad' of a sort, with nine verses. So the nine sections form a continuous narrative sweep, though each 'verse' shakes something new out of its sleeve (so to speak) and there are some 'changes of tone'. Although the piece is atonal is its large-scale tonal design, despite the final settling on the top C trill. It is also full of consonant or quasi-consonant harmonies, and diatonic or near-diatonic melodic licks despite the dissonant and chromatic counter-foil elements. The piece makes truly formidable pianistic demands on the performer.

My riches all went into dreams that never yet came home,
They touched upon the wild cherries and the slabs of honeycomb.

[from John Shaw Neilson: "The Poor, Poor Country" in Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondenceed Cliff Hanna, 118–119 (St Lucia: Queensland University Press, 1991)]