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Mark and Adrian are her sons : from String Quartet

by Lyle Chan

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The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

An excerpt from String Quartet: An AIDS Activist's Memoir in Music.

From notes to String Quartet: An AIDS Activist's Memoir in Music - "Although I mostly focused on obtaining experimental treatments, I once joined a protest in Parliament House against Member Franca Arena's campaign to give financial compensation to people she called "innocent victims of AIDS" - meaning people with medically acquired HIV - at the exclusion of everyone else, like gay men and other "guilty" victims. The heated confrontation between her and me was captured on Channel 9. Only later did I actually understand her motivations - I discovered Mrs Arena had twin gay sons, whom she loved but hated that they were gay. Having not just one but both her sons be gay is the "greatest sorrow", she said. Estranged, the boys fail to attend a family Christmas. She attempted suicide, thwarted by her husband. Her "innocent victims" campaign was her struggle to resolve a powerful conflict - to do doing something about AIDS, an issue that affected gay men like her sons, yet to maintain the 'wrongness' of homosexuality by excluding people like her sons from benefiting. Realising all this, my anger was ambushed by an unexpected feeling: compassion. I still thought what she did was wrong, but I also knew everyone does their best with the mental and emotional resources we have available. The first two sections of music are extensions of my ACT UP music. The third was written thinking I was glad the Arena twins had each other in the times they didn't have their mother; the main melody is shared between two indistinguishable violins, like twins who finish each other's sentences.

Work Details

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 11 min.


Mark and Adrian Are Her Sons: Part I
Mark and Adrian Are Her Sons: Part II
Mark and Adrian Are Her Sons: Part III

Performances of this work

15 Sep 16: Yellow House. Featuring Australian Art Quartet, Lyle Chan.

14 Sep 2016: at Australian Art Quartet (Yellow House Gallery). Featuring Australian Art Quartet.

22 Jun 16: Roundhouse Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3, Canada. Featuring Acacia Quartet.

31 Aug 2012: at Halcyon (The New Hall, Sydney Grammar School).

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