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Commissioned for the opening of the new National Library building in 1987, this work was the centre piece in a concert of New Zealand music which inaugurated the Library's auditorium. Harris chose Alistair Campbell's poetry as he has always enjoyed its vernacular quality. Included in the ensemble are some of Harris' favourite instruments: soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and flugelhorn. Harris views this work almost as a kind of unstaged melodrama. As with his To the Memory of I.S. Totzka (2000), Dreams, Yellow Lions was written in a period between work on his operas and acts as a substitute for the larger compositional form. Short instrumental interludes link the songs through various emotional states. This work is almost a monodrama, as the poems and music form a connected sequence states of mind.
"It's all about memories and I always imagine an old man thinking about his younger days, dreaming away, getting old and becoming sick" - Ross Harris.
Commissioned for the opening of the National Library Building in 1985
Text by Alistair Campbell
05 Aug 1987: Performed by David Griffiths (baritone), Richard Panting (violin), Josephine Young (cello), Deborah Rawson (soprano saxophone), David Armstrong (flugelhorn) and June Byng (bass clarinet); conducted by Ross Harris.