String Quartet No.11 - Jabiru Dreaming


string quartet, with optional didjeridu
String Quartet
Commissioned by Musica Viva Australia
First Performance
10.3.1990, Adelaide Festival, Town Hall, Adelaide: Kronos Quartet

Score 0-571-51540-1 and parts (fp) 0-571-57019-4 on sale

Programme Notes

The living, indigenous musics of Kakadu National Park, in the north of Australia, and of Torres Strait and beyond, have been a part of my musical language since the late ‘eighties. The incorporation is particularly evident in this quartet. Furthermore, the second movement is based upon an Aboriginal chant transcribed by a member of the Baudin exploratory expedition in 1802. This is the first such music committed to Western notation. My eleventh string quartet, then, is in two movements. The first, marked Deciso, contains rhythmic patterns found in the indigenous music of the Kakadu area. Some of these patterns also suggest the gait of the jabiru, a species of stork. While both movements employ similar subsidiary material, the second movement, marked Estatico is dominated by the chant, first stated by the cello in its original form. This movement is also a joyful one: it stems from my belief that Australia is one of the few places on earth where one may write straightforward, happy music. The subtitle, Jabitu Dreaming takes its name from a rock formation in the National Park. This rock is regarded as sacred, but there is nothing forbidding about it: on the contrary, it seems to beckon and welcome. String Quartet No. 11 was commissioned by Musica Viva Australia.

Peter Sculthorpe

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News & Reviews

'String Quartet No 11 (Jabiru Dreaming)' reviews

‘Conjuring images not just of the sounds and rhythms of the aboriginal residents but the natural ethos of the landscape as well, the score was as richly colourful as it was faultlessly performed.' Tucson Citizen (USA) (Daniel Buckley), 5 March 1991 Read more

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