The great emu war of 1932
Commissioned by the IU New Music Ensemble
Scored for: 1,1,1,1 - 1,1,1,0 - 2 perc, pno, strings: 2,1,1,1
Yes, this really happened.
In 1932, the Australian government launched an emu eradication project at the request of farmers. Twenty thousand birds were wreaking havoc on crops, and farmers could not reduce their numbers with the rifles and ammunition they had available. What might have been an unremarkable population control effort was instead guaranteed a peculiar place in history when the government decided to use its army to cull the emus.
Major G.P.W. Meredith led a series of campaigns against the emus over the next two months. Incredibly, the birds proved almost impossible to hit, and thousands of rounds were spent and wasted. Even mounting machine guns on trucks could not stop them, as the birds could run far faster than the trucks could drive over the rough terrain and the guns could not be aimed properly from erratically bouncing vehicles.
Major Meredith was ultimately recalled on his campaign, leading the Australian media to declare the emus handily victorious in the Great Australian Emu War of 1932.
Indiana University New Music Ensemble and David Dzubay (conductor)