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I was fortunate to visit Emerald, Queensland in 2022, tasked by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra with composing a new work inspired by my journey.
While Emerald the town is distinct, it is Emerald the community that most resonated with me; I think I have never truly met such friendly people. My activities were varied. I visited Fairbairn Dam and, after much practise, operated a siphon tube. I confess that I exceeded the bounds of my charge and ventured deep into The Gemfields.
The rugged geographies of Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale have been difficult to shake from my mind. There seems to me to be a kind of beauty in rusted machinery scattered across the desert. Man’s interaction with nature in this manner is, I think, terrifying – in the biblical sense. At the conclusion of my Central Queensland adventures, I returned to Brisbane via the Spirit of the Outback.
The train departed Emerald’s historic station at seven o’clock in the evening; after dinner, I retired to my cabin, doused my lamp, and watched as hundreds and hundreds of lights slowly lumbered their way through the night. In composing Central Highland Rounds, I drew on my experiences, and on what memories I have of the Central Highlands’ landscapes and stories.
Alexander Voltz on Central Highland Rounds (2022)