consort music for 5 viols
Viol Consort
2 treble, 2 tenor, bass viol
Commissioned by the South Bank Centre for the Purcell Tercentenary, dedicated to Fretwork
First Performance
2.5.1995, Purcell Room, London, UK: Fretwork

A4 score 0-571-55465-2 (fp) and score and parts 0-571-56405-4 (fp) on sale

Programme Notes

Djilile, consort music of five parts (1995) Djilile was commissioned by the South Bank Centre for the Purcell Tercentenary. As a schoolboy, I was so excited when I first heard the “Lament” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, that I wrote several works inspired by it. I planned to base the present piece, for the Purcell Tercentenary, upon one of these works. Later, however, I decided that the occasion demanded the best possible music that I could write, rather than a return to my early essays as a composer. Djilile, then, is based upon an adaptation of an Aboriginal chant from northern Australia. The title translates as “whistling-duck on a billabong”. The work is a straightforward one, with four statements of the chant separated by brief interludes, and followed by a coda. While it contains elements of the chaconne, or chacony, there is no conscious influence of Purcell upon the music. I do, however, share with Purcell much joy in the sound of a consort of viols. In writing the work, I decided to use scordatura in the bass viol, and to exploit the higher pitches of one of the treble viols. I also decided to bring the work to its conclusion with the six-part chords in most of the parts. Djilile is dedicated to Fretwork.

Peter Sculthorpe

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