Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Mary P. Finsterer, Circadian Tale 7.1 (Quintets) [musical composition for English horn, alto saxophone, piano, violin and cello]. World premiere performance at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2 May 2009. Download score here and audio file below. For further information refer the Australian Music Centre website - here; artist cv - Australian Music Centre - Mary Finsterer; and artist website -



Research Background

This musical work was commissioned by The Campbelltown Arts Centre for performance in a programme entitled Suburbs. The work focuses on the idea of how stories enrich our lives, transforming mundane existence into one of intrigue and adventure. The subject matter makes connection with the ‘Arabian Tales’, a collection of folkloric literature dating back to the 9th century.

Research Contribution

This work allowed the composer to explore how story or narrative might be reshaped in a sonic realm through gesture. Through cyclic formations in pitch and rhythmic organisation, the structure works to create a familiarity with the listener while leading them through a developmental process. The word ‘circadian’ is chosen for it’s cyclic inference. Originating in the 1950’s, ‘circadia’ refers to the biological rhythms that we naturally experience over the time-span of 24-hours. By contrast, and acting as a counterpoint, is the word ‘tale’ which infers the idea of a journey – and in this case our personal story as life unfolds before us. This duality of the life occurring in cyclic and linear formation may be seen as underpinning what we experience in our suburban life.

Research Significance

This work featured in the inaugural composer–in–residency programme at The Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney. The success of the work has seen a second performance scheduled by Ensemble Offspring as part of their forthcoming touring programme in October 2012.



Circadian Tale.mp3 (22899 kB)