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Island songs

Sheet Music: Score

Island songs : for saxophone, strings and percussion / Peter Sculthorpe.

by Peter Sculthorpe (2012)

  • Sales Availability: This item is not available to customers outside Australia and New Zealand.
    Please contact http://www.fabermusic.co.uk for all sales enquiries.
  • Library Availability: 784.7287/SCU 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Solo soprano and alto saxophone (1 player), percussion (1 player), strings.
  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Amy Dickson, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey from the CD Island songs


This item is not available to customers outside Australia and New Zealand.
Please contact http://www.fabermusic.co.uk for all sales enquiries.

Product details

This work consists of two movements, Song of Home and Lament and Yearning. Based upon three melodies from Australia's far north, the first is an almost-forgotten popular song from Thursday Island. During World War II, with the threat of invasion, it gave comfort to the islanders. The second is a chant called Djilile, from the nearby mainland coast. It means 'whistling-duck on a billabong'. The third is a lament from Elcho Island. This was passed on to me some years ago by a local tribal elder.

Song of Home embraces the first two of the melodies and also makes references to the third. It sings of the love that the indigenous inhabitants have for their island home, the place where they and their ancestors were born. Sadly, because of climate change many of these places are now in peril. The second movement begins with the lament, with the thought of islands that may disappear forever in the rising tidal waters. This finally gives way to a return of the Thursday Island music. Here, it sings of the yearning for a more stable world. Given the will to do so, it is still possible for humankind to halt the worst effects of climate change.

Published by: Australian Music Centre (under licence from Faber Music) — 1 score (44p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 18 mins

Contents note:

Song of Home -- Lament and Yearning.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Jenifer Wakelyn & David Matthews
Commission info: Commissioned by Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts Limited in association with St John’s, Smith Square, London with funding provided by the Beavis Foundation, Kevin Jones & Laura Woodside-Jones and John & Jenny Kendall.

First performance by Amy Dickson, Presteigne Festival Orchestra, George Vass — 23 Aug 12. St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne, Wales

Includes programme notes.

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Island songs
CD: Island songs : works by Brett Dean, Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe / Amy Dickson, Sydney Symphony Orchestra

This work also exists as the following versions:
- Chamber music


- Browse other works published by Australian Music Centre (under licence from Faber Music)

- Browse other works for Saxophone with string orchestra

- Browse other works by Peter Sculthorpe

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