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Our Duty to Care

Digital Sheet Music [PDF]: Score

Our Duty to Care : song cycle for soprano & piano trio [eScore] / music by Robert McIntyre ; words by Savanna Wegman.

by Robert McIntyre (2023)


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Our Duty to Care is a cross-disciplinary music composition based on the legal case 'Sharma v Minister for the Environment [2021] FCA 560', where eight Australian teenagers (namely Anjali Sharma and Isolde Raj-Seppings, Ambrose Hayes, Tomas Arbizu, Bella Burgemeister, Laura Kirwan, Ava Princi & Luca Saunders) represented by an octogenarian nun (Sister Marie Brigid Arthur) as their litigation guardian, sued the Minister for the Environment (Cth) and Vickery Coal Pty Ltd. They successfully argued that the Minister owed them and other Australian children a duty of care, which was supposedly breached when the Minister approved the extraction of coal from a coal mine.

Whilst this decision was later successfully appealed by the Minister, this case monumentally established that climate change is legally real - with all submitted scientific evidence unrefuted. This denotes a significant shift, as we are no longer fighting to prove our climate crisis, but rather urging all to fight the crisis itself.

This work sets newly commissioned text by poet, close friend & regular collaborator Savanna Wegman, who has re-interpreted my own legal research about the case into a 3-part poem, which has in turn structured the song cycle. It embodies climate anxiety, the nervous excitement of the trial and its success, and the melancholic yet hopeful transference of ideology: how far we've come & how far we still have left to go.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 digital (PDF) facsimile score (32p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 18 min.

Dedication note: Dedicated to all current and future generations of Australians who inherit a climate crisis.
Commission info: Composed as part of and made possible by a 2022/23 University of Melbourne Wattle Fellowship. New Text 'Prophecy, as a fire comes' (2022) from Savanna Wegman commissioned by Robert McIntyre.

First performance by Bridgette Kelsey, Solstice Trio — 19 Apr 23. Hanson-Dyer Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, VIC

Prizes/Awards: 2022/23 University of Melbourne Wattle Fellowship. https://www.unimelb.edu.au/wattlefellowship#fellows

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