Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.


Divertimento : Nolan's backyard : for string orchestra

by Christopher Willcock (2008)

Divertimento: Nolan's backyard


Add to cart


Divertimento: Nolan's backyard : for string orchestra / Christopher Willcock

Library shelf no. 784.7/WIL 3 [Available for loan]

Divertimento: Nolan's backyard

Hire Only

This item is available from our hire library.
Please contact our Hire Department to enquire about pricing and obtain this item.

Work Overview

'Nolan' in the title refers to the Australian painter Sidney Nolan, and his 'backyard' is nothing less than the Australian continent. In 2008 a retrospective of Nolan's paintings travelled between three galleries in eastern Australia, and the present work is this composer's response to three paintings in the exhibition. Starting from Nolan's years growing up in St Kilda with the mesmerizing presence there of the roller-coaster at Luna Park (painting: 'Luna Park in the moonlight'), through the distances and emptiness of the outback in the saga of Burke and Wills with the earth receiving back the body of one of the luckless explorers (painting: 'Perished'), to Nolan's return to the strong early childhood memories of the Goulburn River, now populated with characters from the Ned Kelly story (painting: 'Riverbend I'), the three movements of Divertimento map the composer's reactions to the visual associations generated for him by the paintings but which are called, not by the titles of the paintings given above, but, respectively, Night Ride; Earth Song; and River Run.

The writing for string orchestra is triggered not just by the Nolan paintings but also by other associations and allusions, both literary and musical, which sprang into mind when considering the various shapes of the Australian landscape, familiar or alien, that constitute one's own 'backyard'. The full body of strings traces the broader lines of energy, or fantasy, of lament, or memory that are thereby evoked; the small body of soloists acts like a microscope, drawing closer to these experiences with a sharper, keener focus.

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: String orchestra.

Duration: 19 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Tertiary student/professional

Contents note: 1. Night ride -- 2. Earth song -- 3. River run.

Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Chamber Orchestra with funds provided by Ars Musica Australis.

First performance: by Benjamin Northey, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra — 17 Aug 08. BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne


Performances of this work

21 Feb 2010: at The Bourbaki Ensemble: music for flutes and strings (St Stephen's Church, Newtown). Featuring Bourbaki Ensemble, David Angell.

17 Aug 08: BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne. Featuring Benjamin Northey, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.

To post a comment please login.