by Peter Sculthorpe

Concerto for guitar, percussion and string orchestra, with optional didjeridu
Solo Instruments with Orchestra, String Orchestra
perc(1): tam-t/thunder sheet/ch.cym/3 bongos/BD -strings
Commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra
First Performance
24.10.1989, Queensland Performing Arts Complex, Brisbane, Australia: Australian Chamber Orchestra/John Williams/Michael Askill/Richard Hickox

Study score 0-571-55746-5 (fp) and solo guitar part 0-571-56154-3 (fp) on sale, full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Peter Sculthorpe Nourlangie for solo guitar, strings and percussion (1989) In 1989, I made my first visit to Kakadu National Park, in the north of Australia. Looking out across the great floodplains there, I could see the abandoned sites of early white settlement, the Arafura Sea, Torres Strait and, in my imagination, the islands of Indonesia. The music of these places, and of Kakadu itself, fused in my mind. I have since written a number of works in which this fusion has been incorporated into my musical language. Nourlangie is one of these works. It takes its name from an enormous rock monolith in the park. In a single movement, the music of Nourlangie is made up of alternations and elaborations of two different motifs. Following an introduction, the first motif is heard at the outset in a chorale-like form. The second motif, heard immediately after the first, is based upon a Torres Strait dance-song, and is later transformed into a long joyful melody. Although the work does contain many bird-sounds, it is not intended to be a description of Nourlangie; its concern is with my feelings about this powerful and serene place. I might add that while writing this music, I often dreamed of a lost guitar in the sea, lying there since the time, in 1606, when a Spanish expedition led by Luis Vaz de Torres vainly sailed through waters to the north. Dedicated to John Williams, Nourlangie was commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, with assistance from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council. Peter Sculthorpe

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

'Nourlangie' reviews

‘… Nourlangie, a mood piece for solo guitar, strings and percussion, provoked something close to rapture from a Newcastle audience – the percussion foundation of the descriptive Australian work was, in composition and performance, a minor masterpiece.’ The Newcastle Herald (Australia) (Denis Butler), 31 October 1989 Read more

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