Cantata for a Beloved Planet
for Chorus, SATB Soloists, and Large Orchestra (begun 2005)
by Ron Hannah

    Here is an ambitious project! A
Carmina Burana-style cantata, a dithyramb to nature in this time of her ongoing corporate violation. In form, it will be 3 dramatic or lyrical pieces about earth, sea and sky respectively, followed by an orchestral interlude - with that pattern repeating until I feel I

Spinifex Scherzo


am done. It is for large orchestra, chorus and soloists, as listed above, and I am very pleased at this stage of my life to feel at last the confidence to attempt such a piece.

     Even so, it is a daunting prospect, and I have delayed and dithered for years (it is now 2017, and counting!). In the initial flurry of enthusiasm I completed 4 movements, of a proposed 20 or 30, then set it aside in favour of the simpler task of writing an opera, works for smaller orchestral forces, and lots of chamber music. I have now completed a 9th movement, so progress is being made. At that earlier time I was in my world-wandering/backpacking phase, carrying with me a well-worn large pad of manuscript paper, but still managed to complete 4 movements, even writing a portion in back of a camper van in the Outback of Australia. You can hear a computer-generated version of the Spinifex Scherzo (the first of the orchestral interludes), and even download the full score, by clicking on the buttons above. It was created using Logic Pro, and I must say my skills with that program seem to be growing - it almost sounds like a real orchestra!

     Several movements in this Cantata feature soloists. In such

Aria downloads
for Singers:

cases I shall offer piano versions (or full score versions if the piano score is not yet done), and offer them here as arias for recitals or for auditions and competitions. Singers often look for contemporary works for these purposes. Use them with my blessing, but please inform me so that I can keep my Performances page up-to-date.

MOVEMENTS COMPLETED SO FAR (July 2017) (alphabetical - I haven't decided on their order yet):

  • BEAM OF LIGHT - text by John Jerome Rooney (1866-1934) - for baritone solo, strings, and 2 percussionists (piano version available at right)
  • BEYOND KERGUELEN - text by Henry Kendall (1839 – 1882) - for full orchestra, SATB soloists, and large chorus
  • DEATH BY WATER - text by T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) - for full orchestra, SATB soloists, and large chorus
  • FLOTSAM - text by Andrea Mellis (1949 - ) for for full orchestra, SATB soloists, and large chorus
  • SKY ESSAY - for full orchestra
  • SONNET 1 - text by Henry Lawson (1867-1922) - for tenor solo and full orchestra (piano version available at right)
  • SPINIFEX SCHERZO - for full orchestra
  • SPRING AND FALL - text by G.M. Hopkins (1844-1889) - for mezzo-soprano and full orchestra (piano version available at right)
        (see also the Song Cycle "Morning's Minion")
  • THE GIFT OF WATER - text by Hamlin Garland (1860 - 1940) - for tenor solo, SATB chorus and full orchestra

     I would appreciate any suggestions, especially of nature poetry that is not encumbered by copyright restrictions (ie. older poems or ones by living poets who are willing to give permission to use their work in such a way). Modern copyright laws are based on money, not on human values, and are preventing the creation of many a fine work. Many composers, and I am among them, write their masterpieces anyway, regardless of such legalistic nonsense, knowing that their work will outlive the bean counters. I will not pay some publisher a fee for the use of a poet's work long before I myself have seen any financial reward for all this labour. Indeed I expect to receive nothing for it, or even necessarily to hear it in my lifetime.

     But enough bitching. This is a labour of love, pure and simple, one whose hundreds of hours of work I willingly, even joyfully, undertake for the benefit of my fellow man and for the preservation of my global home. Stay tuned... If you wish to view the full scores of any other movements, and hear computer-generated renditions of same, please send me an email (below).