This piece was written in 1991 for Ann Saslav. It is based on an imaginary scene from years ago when a railway branch line went through native bush in the Catlins area of New Zealand. The motif at the start is a bird-call the composer heard in the area. This piece is aimed at grade 7 or 8 level, and was initially performed in schools by Ann Saslav as part of an educational project.
This work was inspired by The Scene from Arawata Bill by New Zealand poet Denis Glover. Originally one of three vocal works composed for Burnside High School chorale in the 1970s, it was later rewritten as a piano solo. The opening stanzas of the poem set the mood: “Mountains muzzle mountains / White-bearded rock-fronted / In perpetual drizzle. / Rivers swell and twist / Like a torturer’s fist / Where the maidenhair / Falls of the waterfall / Sail through the air.”