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by jraffan
posted 05/01/2018

Ode to Sydney – Art, Literature, and Kenneth Slessor’s ‘Five Bells’

Elaine Campaner – Breakfast in Sydney, 2009, digital print on 100% cotton paper, 553 x 830 mm.

ArtiFacts Eastside.

Join me, Jane Raffan, Monday 8 January, for a program about art, poetry and literature specifically focused on Sydney.

Hear interviews with Damien Minton about an exhibition at his former eponymous gallery called Five Bells – a Visual Ode to Sydney.

Taking cues from Kenneth Slessor’s poem – voted Australia’s best poem by ABC listeners in 1988 – and Delia Falconer’s recent book on Sydney, the group exhibition featured works by forty artists across a range of media and styles, offering the chance to reflect on a Sydney many of us may not recognise.


Kenneth Slessor’s famous poem can be found here: https://treasure-explorer.nla.gov.au/closerlook/slessors-five-bells

And the playlist? A mix of contemporary Australian songs about Sydney (mostly contemporary!), including Paul Kelly’s musical take on Slessor’s Five Bells.

And if you are interested in musical inspirations from this famous poem, here’s a short list to investigate:

Alan Browne’s Australian Jazz Band – album – “Five Bells and Other Inspirations” – Review

Trumpeter Mirolsav Bukovsky’s composition – “The Five Bells Suite” – for his ensemble, the “Ten Part Invention”

Composer Peter Sculthorpe – “Between Five Bells”, later renamed (sadly) as “Harbour Dreaming”

Kirsty Beilharz, former Professor of music, sonification and interaction design at the University of Technology, Sydney – composition called “Between Five Bells”, 1995, and “Diamond Quills – A Study of Time, Death and the Harbour”, performed by the Charisma Ensemble – Listen

Paul Kelly, Jeremy Ledger et al, “Five Bells” – from the album “Conversations with Ghosts”, 2013 – Review

I look forward to your company.