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John Hardy - Blue Letters from Tanganyika: Travel on the Lake

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Published on Jun 24, 2011

A clip from 'Travel on the Lake' in the orchestra suite "Blue Letters From Tanganyika" by John Hardy. The music is inspired by blue airmail letters sent home from Africa by John's mother as she worked there as a young teacher. Each of the four sections imagines a different adventure or place described in the the letters.

Travel on the Lake: Wooden canoes were paddled from a standing position. Of the many dangers, the worst were storms and hippos, either of which could swamp a boat, and tip the occupants into the water, where huge crocodiles were always waiting to pull their victims under. They often feared they would not make it back to the shore, and often had to bail water from the canoe as they dashed to safety. The letters describe travelling on a "very rough lake two or three times, when I got very wet, but no real damage was done. The men were desperately tired from battling against the wind, and we just couldn't get as far as the next school, so we all slept out on the beach in a row, with a fire beside us to keep away the local lions!" In spite of the danger, the lake and its surrounding mountains were very beautiful, and when conditions were good the boatmen sang and everyone was full of happiness.

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"Powerfully cinematic" (South Wales Echo)
"Rhythmically charged, open and immediately engaging... bright and colourful while still managing to evoke the African landscape" (Gramophone Magazine)
"Colourful, finely crafted movements... 4 stars" (Classical Music Magazine)
"masterpiece of creation... an extraordinary piece of history" (Roy Noble, BBC Radio Wales)
"Colourful, filmic, and open to pleasurable listening at a single sitting" (Howard Smith, Music & Vision)

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