From Ubirr


by Peter Sculthorpe

string orchestra with optional didjeridu
Solo Instruments with Orchestra, String Orchestra
This arrangement was made especially for William Barton and the Queensland Orchestra conducted by William Christie.
First Performance
2003 recording session with Queensland Orchestra/Michael Christie

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Ubirr is a large rocky outcrop in Kakadu National Park, in northern Australia. It houses some of the best and most varied Aboriginal rock painting in the country. Many of the paintings have been proved to be the earliest-known graphic expressions of the human race. They demonstrate a caring relationship with the environment, and the Aboriginal belief that the land owns the people, not the people own the land. The music of 'From Ubirr' is derived from my orchestral work, 'Earth Cry' (1986). Like its progenitor, it asks us to attune ourselves to the planet, to listen to the cry of the earth as the Aborigines have done for many thousands of years. The work is a straightforward and melodious one. Its four parts are made up of quick, ritualistic music framed by slower music of a supplicatory nature, and an extended coda. The slow music is accompanied by a didjeridu pitched to 'Db', and the quick music by a second didjeridu pitched to 'A'. The instrument represents the sound of nature, of the earth itself. Peter Sculthorpe

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