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Brisbane: Spring of 1987 (2023)

for cello, piano | 00:06:00

by Melissa Dunphy

There is no score for this work currently available. Please contact the composer for more information.

Commissioned by the Bardin-Niskala Duo.

This work for cello and piano is a response to Samuel Barber's art song "Knoxville: Summer of 1915."

Composer's Notes

"This piece depicts an almost foreboding calm, punctuated by the call of a butcher bird in the cello line. Butcher birds are an Australian species, with a really musical call, that used to echo through my neighborhood. Interjecting themselves later in the piece are a number of Cantonese nursery rhyme melodies, which my mother would play for me on cassette tapes. The nursery rhymes at first seem very innocent and light, but they quickly overlap and become manic, so there's always a mix of dark and light going on in this piece: the warm breezes of springtime, and the sense that something is about to go quite wrong."

Artwork by John Gould.


  • 20 Feb, 2024: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Brodbeck Concert Hall, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI
  • 18 Feb, 2024: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Voxman Music Building Recital Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • 15 Feb, 2024: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Noble Recital Hall, Luther College, Decorah, IA
  • 06 Jan, 2024: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Atherton Performing Arts Studio, Honolulu, HI
  • 15 Oct, 2023: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Ent Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO
  • 26 Sep, 2023: Bardin-Niskala Duo at Stretansky Concert Hall, Selinsgrove, PA