We see the effects of climate change everywhere. In Heathcote, Victoria, the winemaker Ian Langford of Mount Camel Ridge Estate told me that while grapes used to be harvested in April, even late April, now they are picked as early as February.
You will hear Langford in my new piece, Scenes from Streeton, commissioned by the Melbourne Recital Centre in celebration of its 10th birthday and scored for wind quintet with recorded voices.
The music is in response to the paintings of Arthur Streeton, in particular the landscapes he painted around Victoria. The voices are those of four people who cultivate the land, farmers and wine makers, who I asked to look at Streeton’s work and talk about how the environment had changed since the painter’s time – and also the Aboriginal writer and historian, Bruce Pascoe, who I asked to speak about how the landscape would have altered in the hundred years before Streeton saw and painted it. Where most people look at Streeton’s art and see idyllic bush scenes, Pascoe sees a ‘warscape’.
The musical notes in the score are for the Arcadia Winds, but I don’t regard the...