for SATB choir and two pianos
duration: 20 minutes
(text by LF)
i. Stand Up
(text by Sappho)
ii. A Thing of Beauty
(text by Keats)
iii. Did you miss me?
(text by Rosetti, Shelley and Gordon)
Commissioned by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir for the 1st Australiasian Choral Festival, with financial assistance from the Australia Council, the commonwealth government’s Arts funding and advisory body.
Heartland is a work that was especially commissioned by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian choir for first performance on 15th April 2001, as part of a festival of combined Gay and Lesbian choirs from throughout Australia and New Zealand.
There are a variety of texts that have been chosen for this piece. The title “Heartland” suggests a place to which you feel a great sense of attachment, as well where you most feel safe and secure – a ‘home’.
The introductory movement to this piece most literally details this sense of belonging, with a text by L.F. slowly incanted over an ever-shifting semi-improvisatory choral part.
In contrast to this often-amorphous treatment, the next movement is declamatory, almost a call-to-arms. “Stand up and look at me, face to face, friend to friend”, Sappho commands, though also implores “unfurl the loveliness in your eyes” and a tender “for you I will leave behind all that I love”. A heartland need not be a place of exclusive happiness, it can also be a place where life’s hardships and tribulations may have been encountered, such as watching the slow loss of a loved one.
The middle movement of this work uses texts by Keats and the Book of Ruth to portray this sense of “heartland”. However, it is often the sense of unabashed joy that may be associated most strongly with a a heartland.
The final movement certainly aims to portray that mood, using as its foundation a somewhat over-the-top text written by Christina Rosetti in 1859, as well as poems by Shelley and Adam Lindsay Gordon.
notes by Matthew Hindson.
“A splendid collection of new, or at least newish, Australian, British and American vocal works was performed by the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers and Symphony Chorus in the Verbrugghen Hall of the Sydney Conservatorium on Saturday, July 7… while nothing was without interest, its most rewarding meat lay in pieces by two Australian composers…
“Matthew Hindson’s Heartland… concluded the concert. This piece is a dazzlingly virtuosic setting of an eclectic lot of texts ranging from the Biblical Book of Ruth to Keats, Shelley, Sappho, Adam Gordon and Christina Rossetti, and was a new experience for me – both because I had not encountered it before… and for the significantly more mature intensity and flavour of Hindson’s muse than I had met previously. Without losing intermittent traces of the larrikinism which was such a prominent ingredient of his earlier compositions, Hindson has begun to delve much further into the vast domain of the human heart and soul.
David Gyger, Opera-Opera, pp. 356.22 – 356.23, August 2007.” .
CD Recording Available?
Not yet. However, a live recording of the piece is available through the Australian Music Centre library.
Most recently performed by the Sydney Philharmonia Choir at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, July 2007. The final movement was performed by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir in 2011.