String quartet no. 11 : (Jabiru dreaming) : for string quartet
by Peter Sculthorpe (1990)
Also known as: Jabiru dreaming
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The living, indigenous musics of Kakadu National Park, in the north of Australia, and of Torres Strait and beyond, have been a part of my musical language since the late 'eighties. The incorporation is particularly evident in this quartet. Furthermore, the second movement is based upon an Aboriginal chant transcribed by a member of the Baudin exploratory expedition in 1802. This is the first such music committed to Western notation. My eleventh string quartet, then, is in two movements. The first, marked Deciso, contains rhythmic patterns found in the indigenous music of the Kakadu area. Some of these patterns also suggest the gait of the jabiru, a species of stork. While both movements employ similar subsidiary material, the second movement, marked Estatico is dominated by the chant, first stated by the cello in its original form. This movement is also a joyful one: it stems from my belief that Australia is one of the few places on earth where one may write straightforward, happy music. The subtitle, Jabiru Dreaming takes its name from a rock formation in the National Park. This rock is regarded as sacred, but there is nothing forbidding about it: on the contrary, it seems to beckon and welcome. Peter Sculthorpe
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, optional didjeridu.
Duration: 15 min.
Contents note: In 2 movements.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Kronos Quartet
Written for: Kronos Quartet
Commission note: Commissioned by Musica Viva Australia.
First performance: by Kronos Quartet — 10 Mar 90. Adelaide Festival of the Arts
Resonate article: Synergy and Grainger Quartet by Australian Music Centre
- Inspired by: Kakadu
Performances of this work
Apr 12: Trackdown Studios, Sydney. Featuring Goldner String Quartet.
10 Mar 90: Adelaide Festival of the Arts. Featuring Kronos Quartet.
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