Dance gundah : for didjeridu and orchestra
by Philip Bracanin (1998)
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Dance Gundah is a concerto wherein cultures combine. It brings together the primeval earthiness of the didjeridu, nurtured through an oral tradition of some forty thousand years, and the majesty of the symphony orchestra, founded only some two hundred and forty years ago. Recently, the didjeridu's traditional role as an accompanying instrument for singers and dancers in sacred and secret ceremonies has been extended into the popular music arena. Now Dance Gundah propels it into coexistence with classical music in partnership with the symphony orchestra. Its many voiced sounds and attendant emotional states are blended within the orchestra and contrasted with it, in much the same way as a solo instrument in a typical concerto.
In composing this concerto, I was mindful not to compromise the dignity or integrity of the two musical cultures. Rather, my aim was to create a viable synthesis of them and, in so doing, bridge and reconcile their musico-cultural divide in the making of a work that is truly multicultural. Such recently established bands as Yothu Yindi (which includes Anglo-Celtic Australian musicians) have incorporated the didjeridu as a lead and rhythm instrument lending emphasis to these bands' Aboriginality. Yothu Yindi is a great band with a worthy political message. My aim with Dance Gundah is to effect a fusion wherein Aboriginal Australian and European Australian musics resonate in music of international goodwill, preserving both the spiritual expression of the didjeridu and the cultural associations of the polish and precision of the symphony orchestra. Cast in the Western tradition of a three-movement concerto (fast, slow, fast), Dance Gundah occupies a unique position in the history of both Occidental and Australian Aboriginal music.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), solo didjeridu, harp, strings.
Duration: 15 min.
- In the form/style of: Concertos
Performances of this work
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