Patrick White Fragments


by Peter Sculthorpe

soprano and piano
Patrick White (Text)
Patrick White
dedicated to the memory of Patrick White
First Performance
original version: 15.5.09, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT, Australia: Rebecca Collins/Vincent Plush/Alan Hicks

Score on special sale from the Hire Library

Programme Notes
For a short time in the mid-sixties, I collaborated with Patrick White on an opera. Set in 1836, it told the story of Eliza Fraser, beginning with shipwreck, the still birth of her baby, the death of her husband and capture by Aborigines. The opera was never completed and the text of the present song is the only part of the libretto that I have in my possession. The song, which I have called 'Patrick White Fragments', is concerned with Eliza Fraser’s resignation to the possibility of her own death. She finds solace in a rain forest and there, in early morning light, she replaces her crinoline with skeletons of leaves. Patrick planned the symbolism of this transition to be at the very heart of the opera. His novel, A Fringe of Leaves, published in 1976, is based upon this idea. P.S.

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