A majestic landscape in the Flinders Ranges
Yuluna Loop is the name of a walking track in the Flinders Ranges, Adnyamathanha country. Beginning and ending in Aroona Valley, it climbs up into the ABC Range and follows the rocky and usually bone-dry Yuluna Creek. Hans Heysen depicted this area in several paintings, admiring the rugged shapes of the uplifted hills and the colour of their ancient stone.
The music I’ve written follows the track clockwise. Early morning birdcalls accompany the ascent to Heysen’s Viewpoint, where there’s a suggestion of wind sighing continuously through the trees as a solemn chorale evokes the majestic ABC Range. Later, an insistent melody introduced by the tenor saxophones takes hold: this is Yuluna Creek, which cuts a winding way down through the ABC Range, against the angled grain of the rock. There’s an interlude of quick trotting along an old bridle track through pine woodland, but mostly the music stumbles along in wild, never-quite-predictable rhythms, following the creek bed. The sides of the gorge rise up in cliffs, and at last Yuluna Creek emerges into Aroona Valley. Here the musical themes are layered up to depict the overwhelming grandeur of the landscape.
© David John Lang 2021
Yuluna Loop was commissioned by SACS (South Australian Saxophones and Clarinets) – special thanks to Sarah Byron and Kate Flint for organising this. The above recording is of the premiere performance in Elder Hall, 2021, featuring the Adelaide Saxophone Orchestra conducted by the composer. It was recorded by Ray Thomas and Angelo Valdivia.
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