Remembering Mrs Macquarie : for cello and didjeridu
by Peter Sculthorpe (2010)
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Library shelf no. 785.4412/SCU 1 [Available for loan]
This work marks the 200th anniversary of the appointment of
Lachlan Macquarie and Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie as governor
and first lady of the colony of New South Wales. I chose to
devote myself to Mrs Macquarie in particular: she played the
cello and I wrote the work with her cello in mind. The instrument
was made in 1814 by Thomas Kennedy of London. It is now housed in
the Museum of Sydney.
In 2001, a Volunteers' Memorial, designed by Richard Leplastrier, was put in place on Mrs Macquarie's Chair, the well-known headland on Sydney Harbour named after Mrs Macquarie. I composed a work especially for the unveiling of the memorial, one that could be performed at future memorial services. This work is an unaccompanied unison setting of a poem, Landscapes, by Judith Wright.
Because of this personal association with Mrs Macquarie's Chair, it seemed fitting to base the present work upon the melody inspired by Judith Wright's words. Following a somewhat expansive opening, the melody is stated quietly, mostly in its original form but with some additional material. The music then becomes rather declamatory, recalling the opening. This gives way to an impassioned variation of the melody, leading to the climax and a brief coda. Seagull sounds heard in the opening section return at the end.
Remembering Mrs Macquarie, is lovingly dedicated to H E Professor Marie Bashir, who unveiled the Volunteers' Memorial shortly after she became Governor of New South Wales. She is an authority on the life and times of Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie (1788-1835).
Instrumentation: Cello, didjeridu.
Duration: 8 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Marie Bashir
Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Conservatorium of Music.. Commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney, upon a suggestion from Professor Kim Walker
Performances of this work
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