The Butterfly House : piano quintet
by Eve Duncan (2011)
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Library shelf no. CD 2444 [Available for loan]
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The Butterfly House is inspired by the iconic modernist beach house by Australian architects Chancellor and Patrick, which was nicknamed the Butterfly House by locals. It is high above the sea looking northwards over Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne, and it has a positivity and spirited character that encapsulates postwar optimism in the mid 1950's. It conjures a time when the family escaped for the summer to play all day on the beach, when the parents chatted and drank on the generous verandah and then everyone piled into bed and fell asleep exhausted in the night, only waking to take a swipe at the odd mosquito. It is shaped like an expansive 'W'. The symmetrically angled steel poles, the triangular sliding glass doors, the lightness of its structure and the sheer joy of its appearance support it being given its uplifting Butterfly House name.
This piece is created by assigning a musical correlation to the length of the structural poles, to the angles, to the materials used, which were mainly glass and steel, and to the site with its northerly aspect. In addition the relation to the sea, the ti-tree and the coastal breezes is considered. Pervading the work is a sense of the modernist jazz of the era.
Instrumentation: Piano quintet.
Duration: 8 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Horace and Dot Bedggood
Commission note: Commissioned by Arts Victoria.
Resonate article: Eve Duncan’s Butterfly Modernism by Corrina Bonshek
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