Irkanda IV


by Peter Sculthorpe

solo violin, percussion and strings
Solo Instruments with Orchestra, String Orchestra
perc(1): BD/tom-t/2 susp.cym/gong/tgl - strings
First Performance
5.8.1961, Nicholas Hall, Melbourne: Astra Chamber Orchestra/Wilfred Lehmann/George Logie Smith

Score 0-571-50128-1 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Peter Sculthorpe Irkanda IV (1961) for solo violin, percussion and strings First performance: 5.8.61, Nicholas Hall, Melbourne: Wilfred Lehmann/ Astra Chamber Orchestra/ George Logie-Smith. This work, written in 1961, is a plain and straightforward expression of my feelings upon the death of my father. The one predominately slow movement is made up of a ritual lamentation heard at the outset, alternating with contrasting sections growing from that material. Following the climax an extended song-like coda suggests an affirmation of life and living, and the work ends in a haze of wind and sea and sun. There is little development in the nineteenth-century sense, but rather, growth by accretion, almost, it might be said, like the manipulation of building blocks made of sound. Irkanda is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning a remote and lonely place. 1984: Looking back, I now regard Irkanda IV as my first mature work. It also marks the beginning of my preoccupation with solar symbolism. The coda is an instrumental setting of D. H. Lawrence's poem Sun in Me. The poem is a clear statement of Lawrence's doctrine concerning the dark sun, the same that made the sun and the world, and will swallow it again like a draught of water. In subsequent works, I might add, this dark sun was transformed into my own sun, a Pacific sun. Peter Sculthorpe

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'Irkanda IV' reviews

‘This short and funereal piece was written shortly after the death of the composer’s father … Like most of Sculthorpe’s music that is known in this country, it is strongly impressionistic. Indeed, the technique comes very close to that of painting, blocks of sound being placed side by side in a manner that precludes the organic growth that usually forms the mainstay of musical composition.’ The Glasgow Herald (UK), 16 March 1967 Read more

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