A tree telling of Orpheus David Lumsdaine

A tree telling of Orpheus cover
Text/libretto by
Denise Levertov
24 mins

Voice, accompanied Voice(s) & 4-7 Instruments

1 Soprano, 1 Flute, 1 B-flat Clarinet, 1 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Violoncello

Purchasing options

Score ISMN 57020-017-7 £30.00 Buy now

soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello

Programme note

[Full programme note here.]

Some time in the '80s, the editor of a musical journal asked me for a statement on composing. Here is something of what I wrote:

The quiet in which I compose is not a different part of my world, set apart in contrast to noise, bustle and contradictions. This quiet is the focal point in which everything stills, becomes transparent; and I can listen, not only to what I know, but also to what I don't know I know.

In silence, listening. Listening for what arises of its own accord. Listening to this sound, discrete and particular, letting it grow in its own way. Transcribing the sound, following its shape with a pencil, is not a separate thing. Composition is the activity of listening. Listening, not before, not after. Now....

A tree telling of Orpheus was commissioned by the English ensemble, GEMINI, and the score is dedicated to Michael Hall.

Mary Wiegold and Gemini, Huddersfield Festival, November 1991
  • 12 Jul 2014 | 6:00pm |

    St Bedes Anglican Church, 14 College St Drummoyne, NSW 2047, Australia



  • 12 May 2007 | 7:30pm |

    St Giles, Cripplegate, Barbican, London


    Sarah Leonard (soprano), Gemini