Australian Odysseys


Taking inspiration from Peter Graham’s Windows of the World, or Philip Sparke’s Hymns of the Highlands, Australian Odysseys is a multi-movement work that showcases the best that Australia has to offer. Although the composer is British by birth, becoming an Australian citizen has sparked a large  interest in Australia and the sheer size of this beautiful country.

Split into 7 movements – each movement represents a state or territory.

1. Flight Over Kakadu – NT
Kakadu National Park is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, 171 km southeast of Darwin. Kakadu National Park is renowned for the richness of its Aboriginal cultural sites. There are more than 5,000 recorded art sites illustrating Aboriginal culture over thousands of years.

The nearest town to the park is Jabiru, which has a small airport from which scenic flights operate daily. The opening movement aims to describe this journey by small plane across Kakadu. From the apprehensive taking off of a small plane, to the majestic soaring across the forest, the arc-structure of this movement is a great opener with an extremely memorable theme which recurs throughout many of the other movements.

2. Wineglass Bay – TAS
The state of Tasmania contains many beautiful parks and forests, one of these being the Fregcinet National Park. Famous features of the park include its red and pink granite formations and a series of jagged granite peaks in a line, called “The Hazards”. However, Freycinet contains part of the rugged Tasmanian coastline and includes the secluded Wineglass Bay, voted by several travel authorities as one of the world’s ten best beaches.

‘Wineglass Bay’ is a gorgeous lyrical tenor horn solo that explores the instrument’s range and legato playing. The piece starts with the theme from the soloist, followed by a second subject again from the soloist. After a lovely interlude from the flugel and euphonium we hear a tenor horn obligato reaching a climactic Top D. The piece ends much like it begins with a lovely recapitulation of the main theme.

3. Supercell – WA
WA is sometimes home to some of the wildest weather in Australia. From ridiculous heat to torrential rain, this movement attempts to depict a supercell storm taking place over Perth.

4. Barossa Valley – SA
Nestled a stone’s throw from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is home to beautiful wineries and stunning landscapes. This quartet for Cornet, Flugel horn, Baritone and E-flat Bass explores the gracious and idyllic scenes of the South Australian countryside.

5. Melbourne Cup Day – VIC
One of the biggest days of the racing calendar in Australia – the Melbourne Cup is not just a race, it’s a festival – it’s a mood. It’s the equivalent of the UK’s Grand National and sweepstakes across the country bet on the outcome. Enjoy this musical description of the race and surrounding atmosphere.

6. Glasshouse Whispers – QLD
The Glasshouse Mountains are located at the Sunshine Coast, approximately 1 hours’ drive north from Brisbane. These large and dominating mountains are both stark, yet haunting beautiful. This soprano cornet solo was written for Brisbane Excelsior’s own Jaime Fixter. This movement is also available as a standalone piece for both brass band and piano.

7. Sydney Opera House – NSW
Arguably one of the most famous landmarks across the world, the Sydney Opera House houses many stunningly elaborate productions. Yes, they perform operas, but also concerts, community outreach events, musicals and child-focus activities. This movement pays homage to some of the composers favourite operas including ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, ‘Tristan and Isolde’ and ‘Carmen’, with motifs weaved into a final rousing rendition of ‘Advance Australia Fair’.





Wonderful performance of movements 1, 3 and 5 from the Annan Town Band in Scotland, UK.