Composer 2022: Naomi Brown “The Poet’s Home”

Naomi Brown is an Australian composer, specialising in writing classical music with a cinematic style, often in response to a text. Most of her concert works convey a story or evoke strong programmatic imagery.
This year Naomi has recently been commissioned to write a piece for two bassoons and piano, “Rivers and Thoughts”, for bassoon virtuoso Matthew Kneale (founder of Arcadia Winds and Ensemble Francaix). The piece is based on Australian poet Miriam Wei Wei Lo’s poem “A Few Thoughts on Multiple Identity”. It was premiered in May 2022 in Adelaide at Urrbrae House by Matthew Kneale, Mark Gaydon (principal bassoonist of the ASO) and Yundi Yuan on piano.
Naomi has also been commissioned to write a string quartet, “Fractured Peace”, by one of Australia’s most loved chamber ensembles, the Flinders Quartet for their Beethoven and the Vignettes project. The commissioned work will be performed in November 2022. Flinders Quartet have also performed another string quartet by Naomi called “A Storm in the Mountains”.
Prior to this Naomi composed a mammoth and exciting work for bassoon and string ensemble, commissioned by Matthew Kneale based on the Francis Thompson poem “The Hound of Heaven”.
Naomi also completed a nine-piece piano solo suite called “The Orchard”. “The Orchard” has recently been recorded with classical pianist Kay Cai at The Base recording studios. Naomi has also written for small chamber ensembles and vocal groups.
Naomi has rigorous music composition training with film composer Amy Jørgensen (James Cameron’s “Deepsea Challenge 3D”, “Home & Away”, and beloved children’s animation “Bluey”), writing music for a variety of genres and ensembles, as well as studying orchestration, music theory and music production.
Naomi lives in the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne’s outer east with her husband and three children.

PROGRAM NOTE “The Poet’s Home”

Charles Harpur has been a somewhat neglected early Australian poet. He wrote during the early- to mid-nineteenth Century and was one of the first poets and writers to use Australian subject matter rather than European.

His poem, A Poet’s Home, depicts a day in the life of the poet and his wife and is set in a mixed farming context near a stream or ”rill”. Harpur grew up in the Hawkesbury region and lived and worked in the Upper Hunter during most of his adult life. He owned a farm near Eurobodalla in the later part of his life.

This piece closely follows the poem from pre-dawn early light through to a starry evening moon rise. You will hear bird calls along with their fluttering flight, the trickling rill, leaves stirring, insect hums, soil being tilled, a noonday rest, maybe even smell the orchard fruit, see the sun setting and the stars slowly appearing before the moon rise, all enhanced through the lense of love.

“A POET’S HOME” by Charles Harpur (1813-1868)

Please note the poem can be viewed from your mobile device using a page flip app by flipsnack. It contains cues so you will know when to turn to the next set of pages. Click here

QRCode to see the poem “The Poet’s Home” by Charles Harpur

1.Here in this lonely rill-engirdled spot, The world forgetting, by the world forgot,

With one vowed to me with beloved lips How sweet to draw, as hiddenly from Time,

As from its rocks yon shaded fountain slips My yet remaining prime!

2. Here early rising from a sinless bed How sweet it were to view Aurora shed

Her first white glances o’er the dusky wood, When powdered as with pearls the sprays all

Through the grey dawn, like prophecies of good

Or like some fairy dream.

3. And while the clouds imbibed a golden hue, And purple streaks grained yon ethereal blue,

By the glad voice of every early bird (As some full lake by breezes in their glee

Is rippled into smiles) how sweetly stirred My spirit then should be!

4. And as like burning bullion brightened still The cloud-hung Orient, o’er yon misty hill

I’d watch the sun’s ethereal chariot come, Flooring the glades with flakes of crystal fire

And the green spaces round my rural home, Where slept mine Heart’s Desire.

5. When, if sweet memories of her sleeping smile Should my devotion thitherward beguile,

Cheating the morn of its observance due, My happy voice should not be wanting long,

To wile her forth with loving transport true, Or wake her with a song.

6. “Awake, my fair One! for the glowing skies Desire thee, and a thousand flowery eyes

Look for thy coming from each pathway side; With all things fresh and beautiful and bright The earth’s illumin’d like an Eastern bride,

Arise, my best delight!

7. What can be deeper than the heavens o’erbending,
Or rarer—richer than the colours blending

Beyond the green cones of the misty hill! What gladder than the runnel’s silvery fall!

And yet my spirit asketh something still, ’Tis thee—the crown of all!”

8. Joined by the Angel of my life—the Day’s Full glory, setting the moist hills ablaze,

How lovelier now for her dear loveliness! The birds—the stream—the forest’s leafy stir,

Catch from her voice a double power to bless, And the flowers breathe of her!

9. The dews are brighter for her love-bright eyes And the air sweeter for the sweet surprise

In every gesture of her gentle face! So widely love’s invisible spirit flings

The visible enrichment of its grace O’er all regarded things

.10. Filled with the fresh keen life that so sublimes
Both mind and body, we should then betimes

Repair us to our cheerful morning meal, Not more attuned by thankfulness of heart

Well to enjoy, than willing in our weal To spare a stranger part.

11. Sufficed and grateful, to her household care Should she betake her then,—I fieldward fare

To till the thriving maize or guide the plough Through the rich loam; or, while the slant sunshine
Carressed them, to remark the melons, how

They lumped from out their vine.

12. Thence to the orchard—to well-prune the robes
The orange trees embossed with golden globes;

Or then the peachy tribes all ruddy cheeked, Or plum’s live rubies,—and, with these, the rare

Boom nectarine’s fragrant swarms so lushly streaked,

That flavour even the air.

13. To pluck the fig, that in its broad-leafed shade
Secretes its ripeness—even like a maid

Mature for love, who yet through bashfulness Doth shun each would-be wooer’s amorous gaze;
Or stay the drooping vines, whose every tress

Should catch the morning rays;—

14. So should the noon draw on: when in yon shade
Beside the rill, on the green couch-grass laid

In careless luxury my faint limbs should be; And hearing but the splash of feathered things

Then fluttering downward from some neighbouring tree

To dip their shining wings;

15. Or the slow-rising and most summery hum Of gorgeous insects that at times might come

Over the runnel, and so voyage by; Or the light footfall on the further brink

Of some wild creature, from its covert nigh Just venturing forth to drink;

16. I’d calmly think of all my wandering youth Had suffered, with a heart so dear to Truth

That she at length had portioned it with love, And then of her who to my being’s good Was what the vitalising Sun doth prove

To Nature’s bountihood!.

17. Thus rested, when the fierier-winged hours Were quenching in the west, with freshened powers

The field again in honorable toil
Should hear me ending what the morn begun,— Till the dressed orchard or the well-turned soil,

Showed a good day’s work done.

18.Then whilst the unharnessed steer I woodward took,
Or sought the kine, that in some grassy nook
Were ruminating all in full-fed ease, The sun should ’light upon his western hill,
Slanting his last beams through the shadowing trees,
And up the gleaming rill:
19. Then, sinking, make a heaven’s lit draperies seem
Golden confessions of the love supreme
My heart poured out on Nature, and on Her Now waiting me at our peace-hallowed board: Thus placed, who’d care amongst the great to stir
Or with the rich to hoard?
20. The pens secured, the final meal in haste Despatched though savoury,—both should forth to taste
Eve’s odorous breath and with renewed surprise,
To find Elysiums painted in the west,
We then should look into each other’s eyes,
To feel that we were blest!
21. And when the gloaming followed evening’s flight,
Down o’er yon hills,—whence yet a skiey light
Kept mellowing upward, near to where, first seen, The glowing Leader of the starry quire
Comes wingedly from out the blue serene, Even like a bird of fire,
22. The hushing bounties of those twilight hours Falling into our souls, as in the flowers’
Balm-breathing bosoms melt the silent dews, Should freshen every feeling mild and wise,
And thence o’er all our charities diffuse The quiet of the skies.
23. Thus should the Night in solemn guise come o’er,
With all her far ethereal eyes to pore
Upon my happy life, and draw my soul To wander like a star, the stars among,
And homeward point from the resplendent pole Uranian beams of song.
24. Or while the moon, the world’s apparent queen,
Came whitening up in majesty serene,
Reminding us of some dear long past night, I’d chronicle in rhyme the many things
Of lovely thought, that from her mystic light Had woven then their wings.

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