Harvest Moon

From The Kate Kelly Song Cycle, a chamber opera by composer Ross Carey and writer Merrill Findlay, first performed in 2011. The full score is now available from here >>

NEW! Listen to the first four minutes of Harvest Moon from the premiere performance of The Kate Kelly Song Cycle at the inaugural Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, September 2011. With Melbourne soprano Sian Prior, accordionist Elizabeth Jones, Rachel Whealy (cello), Martin Lee (violin), and Justin Screen (clarinet), with the Forbes Shire Choir and College For Seniors Choir under the baton of musical director William Moxey. 
[Click at the left hand end of the black bar bar.]

Harvest Moon
(The Kate Kelly Song Cycle)

When the Harvest Moon hangs over old Guangzhou
When the last sheaf of rice has been threshed
It’s Zhong Qiu Jie on the Zhujiang Delta
Time to celebrate what we’ve reaped

With mooncakes and coloured lanterns
And prayers to the Moon Mother Chang’e
But here the year’s all upside down
The Harvest Moon rises in Spring
Yet still I hang the Zhong Qiu lanterns
And bake mooncakesfor my friends

Like that young Mrs Foster up the street
Who thanked me in Cantonese
Do jeh, do jeh saai, she’d say
Neih sihk jo faahn meih a?

Her friend Ah Joe taught her, she told me once
Though she rarely spoke of her past
I’d always give her kiddies sweets
When she came in to the shop
With young Freddie and the little girls
Tell them stories from old Guangzhou

When the Harvest Moon hangs low over old Guangzhou
When the last sheaf of rice been threshed
It’s Zhong Qiu Jie on the Zhujiang Delta
Time to celebrate what we’ve reaped
With mooncakes and coloured lanterns
And prayers to Moon Mother Chang’e

When the Harvest Moon hangs low over old Guangzhou
When the last sheaf of rice has been threshed
It’s Zhong Qiu Jie on the Zhujiang Delta
Time to celebrate what we’ve reaped

Tell them stories from old Guangzhou
About the Moon Lady and Jade Rabbit
Look for them, Freddie, when the moon is full
You’ll see the Jade Rabbit
Mixing his magic medicine
The elixir of eternal life

Can Mummy have some ‘lixir too?
Young Freddie asked one day
Because she’s been feeling sad

What could I tell the boy?
That the Rabbit was just a legend?
I wish I’d listened better now
Because by next full moon
His mummy had disappeared

His mummy had disappeared

Mr Sullivan found her body in the billabong
Behind Ah Toy’s garden near the stone bridge
Constable Garstang brought it into town
To Mrs Ryan’s Hotel across the road
We locals kept vigil on my veranda
Gossiped while we waited for news

Some thought it was suicide
Or she slipped and fell
While others assumed foul play
Her husband’s the prime suspect, they said
A brute when he’s drunk
Though she covers her bruises up well

We thought the coroner would answer our questions
About who, how, where, why and when
But his findings were inconclusive
Not enough evidence, he said …

The truth no longer matters though
For Mrs Foster and her friends
Since she’s tasted the Moon Rabbit’s medicine
She’s an immortal, a legend, a myth

So when the Harvest Moon hangs low on the Lachlan
When it’s time to celebrate what we’ve reaped
I hang the lanterns on my veranda
Bake mooncakes for my friends

And remember young Mrs Foster
Do jeh, do jeh saai
Neih sihk jo faahn meih a?

When the Harvest Moon hangs low over old Guangzhou
When last sheaf of rice been threshed
It’s Zhong Qiu Jie on the Zhujiang Delta
Time to celebrate what we’ve reaped

Time to celebrate …
________________________

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Copyright Merrill Findlay 2011.

Page created 3 May 2014. Last revised 19 September 2014.

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