Burke and Wills Suite


by Peter Sculthorpe

Full Orchestra
2222 - 4231 - timp - perc(1): tam-t/ch.cym/SD/tgl/BD - strings
This arrangement was made especially for the Darwin Symphony Orchestra
First Performance
4-8.7.03, Australia, ASME XIV National Conference, Northern Territory University: Darwin Symphony Orchestra

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

This suite is an arrangement of some of the music written for the film, Burke and Wills (Hoyts/Edgely), directed by Graeme Clifford. One of my objectives in writing this film scores was to fuse my own musical style with that of different kinds of occasional music played in Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. The music used in 'The Sand Dunes' and 'The Burke and Wills March' is based upon the main theme of the film. 'The Cricket Quadrille' is a secondary theme, usually associated with Wills, a version of the English folk song, 'The Three Ravens'. This song is concerned with love and the quest for the Holy Grail. In the film, the actress with whom Burke was in love sings 'I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls', a ballad from 'The Bohemian Girl' (1843), by Michael Balfe. 'The Dream' is an arrangement of this. Following the outline of the story, 'The Search', a brief movement, leads to 'The Coolibah', where the tragic outcome of the expedition is revealed. A recapitulation of the latter is given in the march that brings the work to a close.

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