Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.


Owl Creek: A symphonic sequence : Symphony No.1

by Fred Hill (2013)

No products are available for this work

The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

Materials for this work may be lodged in our collection in the future. Until then, any enquiries should be made directly to the composer/sound artist or their agent.

Work Overview

The inspiration is the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?) which deals with an incident in the American Civil War, in which the author had served. His view of war,and of human affairs generally, is coloured with a barbed wit and acerbity which is in some senses peculiarly modern, but which stops short of outright cynicism. The brilliant construction of the story, which retains the reader's credulity while subtly infusing the narrative with fantasy, is preserved in the short film on the same theme, made in 1962, which also made a deep impression on me. The movements of the symphony parallel the tableaux of the story. However if I as the composer have succeeded, it is not essential to be familiar with"Owl Creek" to engage with the work.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Full symphony orchestra: 3 Flutes/piccolo/alto flute 3 Oboes/3rd/Cor Anglais 3 Bb Clarinets/Bb Bass Clarinet 3 Bassoons/3rd/Contrabassoon 1 Soprano Sax Solo 2 Alto Saxes 1 Tenor Sax, 4 Horns in F 3 Trumpets in Bb 3 Trombones (2xTenor 1xBass) Tuba/Euphonium, 3-4 xTimpani (pedal type) at least 3 percussionists, Harp, Strings (max.16/12/12/10/8) Solo Soprano & Baritone,  Optional;Vocal Trio (may double or replace Sax trio in Strange Constellations) Narrator (may double as Baritone soloist)

Duration: 41 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Conceived with professional orchestra in mind:contemporary idiom -tonal/atonal as required

Contents note: 1.In the Midst of Life -- 2.Abbie's Song -- 3.At A Country-House Ball -- 4.The Pursuit -- 5.A Hymn to Light and Life -- 6.Another Part of the Forest/Strange  Constellations/In the Sunlit Garden/The End.

Dedication note: Dedicated to the composer's wife Christina Helen Hill

Owl Creek is a companion piece to Chickamauga, also based on a Bierce story of the Civil War. Each aims to invoke the world in sound of the protagonist (in the case of Chickamauga) that of a small boy lost on a battlefield.) Of the 3 movements presented the first portrays Farquhar's wife ("Abbie" in the Enrico film; in the original she is unnamed) who unwittingly (?) seals her husband's fate. The middle section (actually the 3rd movement in the whole work, evokes the Farquhars' opulent home, where a dance is in progress. "Colored" servants and entertainers flit between the guests to the strains of a cake-walk (underscored by "Ellingtonian" trombones; there is a waltz, and the arrival of the Union spy who ensures Farquhar's doom is signalled by a demonic polka on solo violin. The movement ends in mystery and foreboding.

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.

To post a comment please login.