String Quintet No. 1 : Suzannah : string quintet
by Robbie James (1999)
Suzannah was born in London in the mid 1700s. Every night from a very early age, she had the same dream where she is playing among the songs in the sand of the mysterious southern world. An old man with very dark skin would teach her about the songs and other wonders of his land. Suzannah later described the map of songs as the greatest wonder of all ancient creations. When Suzannah was older and set foot upon the shores of the southern world as a convict of the First Fleet, she saw a young boy, an inhabitant of this faraway land, standing further along the beach beyond the maddening crowd that seemed to have parted momentarily so she could see him. It was as if the boy was a long lost acquaintance and there was some pre-arrangement to meet up here. As she tried in vain to reach him amidst the violent storm, she collapsed to the sand and lost consciousness. She began to dream. It was a familiar dream. She was a little girl again walking among the songs in the sand with the old man. It was just another normal day as she lay, dreaming in the sand.
Instrumentation: 2 Violins, viola, cello, double bass.
Duration: 14 min.
Commission note: String Quintet No. 1 Suzannah is part of a larger work called Dreaming In The Sand which was commissioned by Restrung Festival Brisbane
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:
Suzannah was influenced by English and Irish folk songs and Irish jigs. There is a seafaring flavour to some of it. The music is intended to reflect the coming and arrival of the British settlers.
Performances of this work
15 Oct 21: Restrung Festiva, Brisbane. Featuring Bentley String Quintet.
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