Sheet Music: Score
Sea chronicles : five songs for soprano and string quartet / Paul Stanhope.
by Paul Stanhope (1998)
Sea Chronicles is a song cycle for soprano and string quartet which celebrates various dimensions of our coastal environment. For Australians, the coast and ocean have an iconic place in our collective conscience with associations of leisure, relaxation, open-ness and possibility and also of terrifying power. Most of the texts in this piece (all by Australian poets) emphasize the celebrative and reflective qualities of the sea rather than following the European tradition of the sea as a metaphor for human struggle.
Most of the songs simply present images of the sea - pictures, in fact, for contemplation. The text of the central third movement, while also painting a vivid picture, has a stronger sense of narrative than the other texts: it plays out the drama of a Lifesaver who dies in the course of rescuing others. The Lifesaver can be viewed as a Christ-like figure (suggested by a veiled reference to the Bach chorale "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded" in the central slow section) who sacrifices himself as an upholder of the Australian coastal lifestyle. Sea Chronicles thus examines the notion of danger as being an essential part of the beauty and attraction of the sea.
Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (30p. -- A4 (portrait))
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional/good amateur.
Duration: 18 mins
Commissioned by Elektra String Quartet.
First performance by Morning Star String Quartet — 18 Dec 98.
Includes programme note and full texts of original poems.
Texts taken from: 'The nightingale' by Victor Daley, and 'Sea chronicles' by Rex Ingamells (song I) ; 'By the sea' by George Essex Evans (song II) ; 'Life saver' by Elizabeth Riddell (songs III and IV) ; 'The swimmer' by Adam Lindsay Gordon (song V).
Awarded 3rd prize in the Kazimierz Serocki Inernational Composition Prize (Poland) in 2000.
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