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Remembering Mrs Macquarie : for cello and didjeridu

by Peter Sculthorpe (2010)

Remembering Mrs Macquarie


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Remembering Mrs Macquarie : for cello and didjeridu, performing score / Peter Sculthorpe.

Library shelf no. 785.4412/SCU 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This work marks the 200th anniversary of the appointment of Lachlan Macquarie and Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie as governor and first lady of the colony of New South Wales. I chose to devote myself to Mrs Macquarie in particular: she played the cello and I wrote the work with her cello in mind. The instrument was made in 1814 by Thomas Kennedy of London. It is now housed in the Museum of Sydney.

In 2001, a Volunteers' Memorial, designed by Richard Leplastrier, was put in place on Mrs Macquarie's Chair, the well-known headland on Sydney Harbour named after Mrs Macquarie. I composed a work especially for the unveiling of the memorial, one that could be performed at future memorial services. This work is an unaccompanied unison setting of a poem, Landscapes, by Judith Wright.

Because of this personal association with Mrs Macquarie's Chair, it seemed fitting to base the present work upon the melody inspired by Judith Wright's words. Following a somewhat expansive opening, the melody is stated quietly, mostly in its original form but with some additional material. The music then becomes rather declamatory, recalling the opening. This gives way to an impassioned variation of the melody, leading to the climax and a brief coda. Seagull sounds heard in the opening section return at the end.

Remembering Mrs Macquarie, is lovingly dedicated to H E Professor Marie Bashir, who unveiled the Volunteers' Memorial shortly after she became Governor of New South Wales. She is an authority on the life and times of Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie (1788-1835).

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: Cello, didjeridu.

Duration: 8 min.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Marie Bashir

Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Conservatorium of Music.. Commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney, upon a suggestion from Professor Kim Walker

First performance: by Emma-Jane Murphy, William Barton at The Sydney Conservatorium Open Day (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) on 28 Mar 2010

Performances of this work

28 Mar 2010: at The Sydney Conservatorium Open Day (Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Emma-Jane Murphy, William Barton.

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