Gomersal: An Appreciation
Cello & Piano
- Sky and Land
- Ngadjuri Country
- German & Prussian Settlers
- The Sky and the Land Endure
Celebrating the story of a place...
This is a landscape in music. Gomersal lies on the edge of South Australia’s Barossa Valley, just west of Tanunda. Its gently rounded hills and valleys, shaped by Gomersal Creek, are overlooked by the higher hills of the Barossa Range to the southeast, which curve away further south to the distant Adelaide Hills. The sky feels unusually large and close here, particularly when bobs of fluffy cloud are floating overhead.
This land has been lived on and loved by countless generations of the Ngadjuri, the traditional custodians, and more recently by the farming communities established by German and Prussian settlers in the 1850s. Today it is an undulating patchwork of pasture, crops and vineyards. For many people it is just another part of the Barossa, an area they may barely notice as they speed along the Gomersal Road shortcut to Tanunda (sealed in 2002). But for those who live here, whether lifelong residents or relative newcomers, it is a quiet place with its own unique character.
I have tried to capture something of the shape of the land and its story in this suite of connected movements. There are musical motifs that suggest the vastness of the sky, the gentle slopes up from the creek, and even the contour of the Kaiserstuhl hills in the distance. A phrase from the famous Lutheran hymn Ein feste Burg (‘A Mighty Fortress is our God’) makes an occasional appearance, in a nod to Gomersal’s church community.
This work was commissioned by Nat Schmaal in memory of her husband Ian, a direct descendant of the first German settlers in the area in the 1850s.
© David John Lang 2023
This piece is intended to be performed as one continuous work, with minimal gaps between the movements (and no gap at all between the fifth and sixth movements). However, if desired, longer gaps may be inserted. It is also fine if you only want to perform a single movement by itself, or your own selection of movements.
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