SATURDAY 12TH FEBRUARY 2022
THE GOVERNORS CENTRE,
558 CLEVELAND STREET,
MOORE PARK 2021
Words from Composer Kate Reid
I was first drawn to the story of Daniel Solander, the highly acclaimed Swedish botanist and talented linguist, after many visits to Sweden, where I had the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of its people, the splendid landscape and the extreme winters – vastly different from the world that I was used to on the other side of the earth. This song cycle is written in celebration of Solander’s important contribution to scientific discovery and the great courage and commitment it demanded from him.
It begins with Solander’s childhood in the north of Sweden. It opens with a gentle reference to the indigenous people of northern Sweden, the Sami, singing a lullaby. It goes on to follow him on his two-year journey to Australia on the Endeavour as an assistant to Joseph Banks in 1768. It concludes with a farewell to Solander, where we hear the same Sami motif return in the final bars.
There are seven movements for a combination of voices, ranging from two soloists to a full SATB choir. The only instrument is a vibraphone. The movements are linked by a narrative spoken by John Gaden. Rodney Fisher has provided the beautiful narrative and many of the lyrics.
I have been moved to respond to Solander’s life story and to acknowledge, through my music, this extraordinary individual whose work, in spite of its significance and its relevance here, remains relatively unknown in Australia today.