A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest (2018) is written for SSA or SATB and piano, and is suitable for Secondary school and adult choirs. It is based on the descriptive historic poem of the same title by Australian poet Charles Harpur (1813-1868). It was first published in The Empire magazine 1851, and later in the poet’s poetry collection Poems. This poem describes the quietness and beauty among the hardship of the colonial Australian land.
Not a sound disturbs the air, There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods What a mighty stillness broods!
All the birds and insects keep Where the coolest shadows sleep
Even the busy ants are found Resting in their pebbled mound;
Even the locust clingeth now Silent to the barky bough:
Over hills and over plains Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.
Only there’s a drowsy humming From yon warm lagoon slow coming:
Tis the hornet dragon see! All bedaubed resplendently,
Yellow on a tawny ground, Each rich spot nor square nor round,
Rudely heart shaped, as it were The blurred and hasty impress there
Of a vermeil crusted seal, Dusted o’er with golden meal.
Only there’s a droning where Yon bright beetle shines in air.
Tracks it in its gleaming flight With a slanting beam of light,
Rising in the sun shine higher, Til its shards flame out like fire.
Every other thing is still, Save the ever wakeful rill,
Whose cool murmur only throws Cooler comfort round repose;
Or some ripple in the sea Of leafy boughs, where, lazily,
Tired summer, in her bower Turning with the noon tide hour,
Heaves a slumbrous breath ere she Once more slumbers peacefully
Oh, ’tis easeful here to lie Hidden from noon’s scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess Musing thus of quietness. (Charles Harpur)
- Key SSA: Db Major; SATB: Eb Major
- Range SSA: Ab below middle C to high F
- Tempo Adagio espressivo
- Length 3′ 39”
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