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On Sutherland's grave : for a cappella choir

by Matthew Orlovich (1991)

Audio Sample

From the CD Ngana



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Ngana : the Australian Voices sing Australian choral music.

Library shelf no. CD 496 [Available for loan]

On Sutherland's grave


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On Sutherland's grave : for a cappella choir / Matthew Orlovich.

Library shelf no. 782.5554/ORL 4 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

On Sutherland's Grave draws upon three distinct texts: 'Sutherland's Grave', from Selected Poems of Henry Kendall (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1927) ; 'Journey to Birdsville Nov. 1966' from The Log and Field Book of Sir Russell Drysdale ; and 'Requiem aeternam' from Missa pro defunctis.

In composing the work, each of the three texts suggested its own unique musical treatment. Of particular significance to the overall work was the text of Henry Kendall's poem of 1860, which describes the wailful sea lamenting that Forby Sutherland, one of Captain James Cook's sailors, had been buried ashore shortly after the Endeavour anchored in Botany Bay in 1770.

Excerpts from Missa pro defunctis are used - at times, fleetingly- to complement the nature of the work, while at other times, I have introduced, by means of narration, whispering and humming, some extracts from 'Journey to Birdsville Nov. 1966', from The Log and Field Book of Sir Russell Drysdale, which describe the artist's observations of the outback and his thoughts upon visiting the 'Dig Tree' at Camp 65 of Burke's expedition.

Work Details

Year: 1991

Instrumentation: SSATBarB choir.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Medium

First performance: by The Song Company, Roland Peelman — 1992. For 2MBS FM (Sydney) live broadcast from Studio C, during Oz Music Week 1992

Highly Commended Work in 1991 2MBS FM Young Composers' Competition.


Performances of this work

12 Oct 2014: at On Sutherland's Grave (St Mark’s Episcopal Church (Glendale, US)).

17 May 97: Commonwealth Bank Master Musicians Series, Conservatorium Theatre, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, 16 Russell Street, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.. Featuring The Australian Voices, Stephen Leek.

1992: For 2MBS FM (Sydney) live broadcast from Studio C, during Oz Music Week 1992. Featuring The Song Company, Roland Peelman.

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