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A Room of Her Own : for string quartet

by Anne Cawrse (2020)

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Room of Her Own


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Work Overview

A Room of Her Own is my essay and personal reflection upon the requirements for prosperous creativity. In it, I explore the delicate balance between the realm of the creator and the work being created, taking inspiration from quotes gathered from Virginia Woolf's seminal text A Room of One's Own.

The work is in four movements, played attacca (without pause):

I. Web "...imaginative work (is) like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners."

II. Epigraph

III. Anon "I would venture to guess that Anon... was often a woman."

IV. Incandescence "The mind of an artist, in order to achieve the prodigious effort of freeing whole and entire the work that is in (her), must be incandescent.... There must be no obstacle in it."

The music opens with Web, a fragile meditation performed by solo cello, accompanied by an off-stage 'choir' of bowed crotales. In Epigraph, the off-stage performers return and introduce us to musical themes by composers Margaret Sutherland, Clara Schumann and Rebecca Clarke. These themes then become the primary musical material for Anon, an aggressive and hostile, but occasionally tender homage to forgotten voices of the musical canon. A poignant viola solo announces Incandescence: a hymn to self-awareness, acceptance, and vulnerability.

Notes on the quoted works can be found by following this link.

Work Details

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello (players doubling on crotales (C5-C6 8ve set), suspended cymbal).

Duration: 28 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: I. Web -- II. Epigraph -- III. Anon -- IV. Incandescence.

Commission note: Commissioned by Elder Conservatorium of Music for performance by Australian String Quartet.. Commissioned with support of the John Bishop Memorial Commission

First performance: by Australian String Quartet at ASQ plays Beethoven Sollima Cawrse (Elder Hall) on 17 Oct 2020

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2021 Albert H Maggs Composition Award First Prize Anne Cawrse
2021 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Chamber Music Winner Anne Cawrse


Resonate article: 2021 Albert H Maggs Award to Anne Cawrse by Australian Music Centre


Performances of this work

17 Oct 2020: at ASQ plays Beethoven Sollima Cawrse (Elder Hall). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

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