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This piece, written for performance by Ananda Sukarlan, is a response to a request by him to write a work commemorating the victims of the Bali terrorist bombings.


This work is also part of a series of works for piano contemplating the use of the word ‘veils’ by various poets.


Veils 2 uses the poem “Day that I have loved” by the antiwar poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), the first stanza is:


“Tenderly day that I have loved, I close your eyes,

  And smooth your quiet brow, and fold your thin dead hands.

The grey veils of the half-light deepen; colour dies.”


In one continuous movement of about 7 minutes, the piece uses strong contrasts of dynamic, range, density, speed and emotion in presenting related musical material.

                      Dreams Go Wandering Still (2004)


This work is a musical reflection on the elegant and deceptively simple poem by seventeenth century Japanese Haiku master Matsuo Basho. The English translation by Harold Henderson goes:


“On a journey, ill,

and over fields all withered, dreams

go wandering still.”


For the whole piece an oscillating figure in chords or trills echoes the withered or, in literal translation, “dried-up” fields.


The journey is established by the horns and brass, moves to tutti cellos, then cor anglais and flute, climaxing — “taking ill” — with the trumpets and trombones. The texture becomes more individual with a section for two solo cellos and solo bassoons. The journey continues more urgently with spiccato strings moving via frantic energy to a gesture of assertion in the full orchestra. The music returns to the nostalgic and the individual, this time through four solo violins.


Throughout the work are the wandering (“running-about”) dreams: in the splashes of woodwind, harp, and percussion and in the aspiration of the solo voices, especially at the end reaching high and never-ending into silence.


Dreams Go Wandering Still is dedicated with great affection and thanks to my teacher, mentor, musical confident, guide to Japan and dear friend, Peter Sculthorpe.



Barry Conyngham (January 2004)


© Barry Conyngham 2015