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Tropic : for orchestra : for orchestra

by Peter Sculthorpe (2008)



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Tropic : for orchestra / Peter Sculthorpe.

Library shelf no. 784.2/SCU 17 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Tropic takes its name from a work that I wrote for chamber ensemble in 1992. Both were inspired by the landscapes of Australia's so-called Top End. The present work, having been written for the Queensland Youth Orchestra, was inspired by places around Cape York, in Queensland's far north. It consists of one movement, made up of four inter-related sections: 'A Mission Hymn', 'Reef Singing', 'Dua Chant' and 'A Celebration'.
'A Mission Hymn' is an idealized version of the kind of music that missionaries introduced to the area in the nineteenth century. Before its concluding Amen, there is an episode of bird-song, flights of birds being an important part of the local Indigenous culture. Sounds of birds, especially seagulls, are also heard elsewhere in the work.
The second section, 'Reef Singing', is based upon a melody that I used in the chamber work of 1992. Upon its repeat a counter-point is added, recalling the downward-turning intervals of 'A Mission Hymn'. The whole section suggests the carefree music of the tropical islands of Torres Strait. It leads into 'Dua Chant', one of my favourite Indigenous melodies.
'A Celebration' opens with a fully-scored version of music stated in the second section, building to the climax of the work. It celebrates the Australian Federal Government's apology to Indigenous peoples in February 2008. With past wrongs finally acknowledged, Australia is now at the beginning of true nationhood. This is the underlying theme of the work.

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), strings.

Duration: 10 min.

Contents note: I. A mission hymn -- II. Reef dreaming -- III. Dua chant -- IV. A celebration.

Dedication note: Dedicated to John Curro

Written for: Queensland Youth Orchestra

Commission note: Commissioned by Australia Council, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Ars Musica Australis.

First performance: by Queensland Youth Orchestra, John Curro — 12 Jun 08. QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane

Performances of this work

12 Jun 08: QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane. Featuring Queensland Youth Orchestra, John Curro.

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