Program notes

Sleepers Wake, Karalananga for piano, opus 64b (2003)

Sleepers Wake, Karalananga for solo piano was composed for Tony Gray in 2003. It is a short piece based on two excerpts from the cantata, Journey to Horseshoe Bend. The cantata is to a text by Gordon Kalton Williams based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by TGH Strehlow. The novel depicts the journey across Central Australia that the young Strehlow made with his mortally ill father, the Hermannsburg missionary Carl Strehlow, in the 1920s. The cantata incorporates the Bach harmonisation of the Lutheran hymn ‘Wachet Auf!’ (or ‘Sleepers Wake’) throughout and draws on Aranda, German and English language texts.

This piano piece is comprised of two excerpts from the larger work. The opening and closing sections of the piano piece are drawn from the first part of the cantata, and depict a recollection of Hermannsburg and the arrival at Karalananga – a mountain seen from the dry bed of the Finke River – and a realisation of its mythical importance. The middle section is dance-like and is drawn from the third part of the cantata where the sudden arrival of storm rain symbolises a joyous transformation.

© Andrew Schultz, 2003.