Lament for Strings


by Peter Sculthorpe

string orchestra
String Orchestra
First Performance
26.5.1976, City Hall, Wollongong: Australian Chamber Orchestra

Score 0-571-50553-8 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Peter Sculthorpe Lament for string sextet I first met the Brodsky Quartet at the Dartington International Summer School in 1993. Mike, Ian, Paul and Jacqueline were preparing for a concert of my music, and we quickly established a firm friendship. A week earlier, Ruth Boyle, the wife of my publisher, Robin Boyle, had died in London. Feeling that the Dartington concert needed another piece added to it, I decided to arrange my Lament for Strings (1976) for string sextet, and to dedicate it to the memory of Ruth. The work, then, was written especially for the Brodsky Quartet – augmented by a cello and double bass. It received a very emotional premiere. The second performance of the work took place in the Sydney Opera House one month later, when, to my delight the Brodksy’s toured Australia. The performance was equally emotional: Paul’s father had died in Ireland on that very day, and we dedicated that performance to his memory. In one movement, the Lament is in three clearly-defined sections: the first is desolate, with the melodic line shared between cello and first violin; the second is somewhat impassioned; and, following the climax, the last, dominated by the cello, is again desolate. The work does, however, end with some degree of hope. Peter Sculthorpe

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'Lament for Strings' reviews

‘– a real highlight of the season - miniature, economical with resources, but perfectly judged – The piece was as contained as the emotions to which it related - not dramatic high tragedy but a sort of washed-out pain, with simple lyrical keening tones high up the solo instruments, like wires stretching towards breaking, then relaxing and fading. Molto espressivo, beautifully imagined contemplative music, with a burden of stronger melodic definition left finally to the cello before the lead v Read more

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