Peter Sculthorpe’s Island Songs for saxophone, strings and percussion (2012) were among his last works. Drawing on indigenous melodies from Australia’s far north, the two-movement work contains some of his most beguilingly lyrical music as well as a potent ecological message. On a critically acclaimed new recording of the work from Sony Classics, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey are joined by the soloist for whom it was written, the twice Grammy-nominated Amy Dickson.
Poignant and melodious, the 18-minute work also exists in a version for two pianos and didjeridu.
‘Sculthorpe’s matchless ability to evoke vast, parched landscapes is as strong as ever, and the more literal moments (like the swooping bird calls) never sound hackneyed.’
The Artsdesk (Graham Rickson), 6 February 2016
‘The first movement is sun-drenched and full of yearning, the saxophone soaring over a teeming orchestra; the second is a more unsettled expression of homesickness.’
The Guardian (Erica Jeal), 21 January 2016