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Hidden Thoughts II: Return To Sender : for mezzo-soprano, narrator and string quartet

by Katy Abbott (2020)

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Work Overview

The text for this work uses excerpts of letters. These letters were written by ordinary Australians in response to a call by Julian Burnside QC to write letters of support and encouragement to seekers of asylum on Nauru and Manus Islands. 2000 letters were sent and all but three were returned to sender; unopened and undelivered. The work illuminates the voice of Australia through these powerful and ordinary sentiments.

Work Details

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano, narrator, 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 57 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: "For Maureen"

Written for: Richard Piper, Lotte Betts-Dean, Flinders Quartet

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australia Council.. This work was composed for Flinders Quartet for their 20th Birthday and was composed as part of an Australia Council of the Arts Fellowship (music)

First performance: by Dimity Shepherd, Richard Piper, Flinders Quartet at Flinders Quartet: Return to Sender (Live streaming event (online only)) on 23 Jul 2020

Text compiled by Katy Abbott and Maureen Johnson.

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2021 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Chamber Music Finalist Katy Abbott


Resonate article: Return to Sender by Anni Heino


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