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Noisy Nora (full orchestra with narrator)

by David Keeffe (2012)

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.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

Noisy Nora is a musical illustration of a delightful tale for young children (and grown-ups). The story first appeared as a picture book in 1976 by the American author and illustrator Rosemary Wells, who is perhaps best known today for the popular "Max and Ruby" series. Nora is a "middle child", and finds herself caught between the needs of her baby brother, Jack, and the demands of her assertive older sister, Kate. Nora's solution is to make her presence felt by getting in the way and throwing things around.

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (1 player), strings, narrator.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — There are prominent parts for prinicpals in all sections. The music is metrically simple, but uses cross-rhythms and hemiola extensively.

Commission note: Commissioned by ZMSO as part of its emerging composer program.

First performance: by Zelman Symphony Orchestra, Mark Shiell, Michael Taft — 1 Dec 12. Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne

This story was one of the first to be learnt by my younger daughter at the age of 3 – and she can still recite it nearly 20 years on. It struck me as an ideal narrative for a work using contemporary techniques but which is light and happy in character. I portray each family member by themes that have a ‘family likeness’ but are also individual. Nora has two tunes, being the central character – one is serene and gentle, the other is more angular; her mother is depicted by a waltz-like idea, and her father is more strait-laced with a more march-like motif. Jack is bouncy and playful – while Kate can get a bit serious and whiney. There are number of scenes in the story which I have illustrated by musical allusion and mood, and by the interplay of the characters. I could not have completed the work in its present form, with narrator, without the generosity of Rosemary Wells who has given her personal permission to use her text in this work.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
The compositional style might be described as "serialism with a grin". 12-tone techniques have been used to produce a broadly consonant and symmetric work.

Commissioning and Dedication info from Contribute:

The work was commissioned by ZMSO as part of their ongoing emerging composers program.

First performance info from Contribute:

1 December 2012, Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, Xavier College, Barkers Road, Kew Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, cond. Mark Shiell, with Michael Taft, Narrator

Performances of this work

17 Oct 2015: at Children's Games (Church of All Nations). Featuring Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ingrid Martin.

1 Dec 12: Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. Featuring Zelman Symphony Orchestra, Mark Shiell, Michael Taft.

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