Sculthorpe - Songs of Sea & Sky
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List price: £12.99|
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Average customer rating:
5 out of 5
Media: Audio CD|
ISBN/ASIN : B0002TL530
Manufacturer : ABC|
Release data : 13 September, 2004
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Arresting, angry sounds and music with attitude
In 'Songs of Sea & Sky', Peter Sculthorpe continues to free the Australian didgeridoo from its image as a percussion instrument, laying down a monotonous beat. The didgeridoo becomes an iconic feature of his work, symbolic of the cultural integration and cross-fertilisation for which Sculthorpe has become renowned. A 'European', writing for a traditionally 'European' orchestra, Sculthorpe could too easily have been tainted by the coloniser's sin, that of eradicating the indigenous culture and superimposing the colonial one.
Sculthorpe's music shows habitual respect, both for the peoples who originally colonised Australia, and for the vast land itself. He has an earthy quality to his writing: from the dramatic, arresting opening of 'Earth Cry', we can hear the anger, the protest at how we abuse our world and take it for granted. The didgeridoo combines with a Western orchestra to create a perspective of continuity and time. Dreaming may have been the first art form, music and rhythm were the first of the performing arts ... and the didgeridoo has a heritage few Western instruments can equal.
Sculthorpe has been inspired by the vast size of the Australian landscape - big skies, big seas, big land. But this can only be interpreted on a human scale. Sculthorpe takes us on an exploration of big emotions! His music can wring the torment from the human soul - the didgeridoo is not so much an extension of the human voice as of human breath ... you are presented with music and rhythm as essential human elements, as vital as air and water, earth or fire.
Sculthorpe uses the Western instruments to explore the big emotions - his use of cello or strings or percussion follows a cross-cultural diversity. This is exciting, stimulating music, music you find difficult to ignore. It wrestles with your attention, making you focus on particular instruments or themes, then allows your mind to wander into the realm of imagination and dream. It is not comfortable music - it challenges your creative senses to imagine and to explore, and therein lies its great excitement.
The CD offers 'Earth Cry', 'Mangrove', six 'Songs of Sea & Sky', 'Kakadu', and 'From Ubirr' - titles which explore the Australian landscape and culture, ancient and modern, presenting both as continuities which stimulate and sustain human life. An excellent, concise set of sleeve notes guide the listener through Sculthorpe's work, introduce didgeridoo soloist William Barton, and provide a short resume of the work of the Queensland Orchestra. All in all, fine listening.