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This handbook is devoted to a work by Australia's most significant twentieth-century composer, Peter Sculthorpe (b. 1929). Written in 1961, his piece for solo violin, strings and percussion, Irkanda IV, stands as a landmark in his output. It is at once a consolidation of his musical language to that point, and conceived as a new and truly Australian statement, the first of his pieces strongly linked to landscape. It was also the earliest of Sculthorpe's works to receive wide acclaim, and for him remains a favourite work. The word 'irkanda' is an Aboriginal word meaning a remote and lonely place, isolation and loneliness a theme common to many Australian composers, painters and writers, and these generic concerns will be explored as part of the background to the composition. The death of Sculthorpe's father in May 1961 prompted work on the piece, but in addition it derives from some descriptive passages in D.H. Lawrence's 1922 novel, Kangaroo. Irkanda IV has a particularly interesting commission and composition history, given that it draws on three previous 'irkanda' manifestations, and part of the analysis section will focus on the concept of reworking musical material. The harmonic aspects of the piece that were innovative at the time went on to become a significant part of his musical language. Similarly, the form of the work serves as a structural prototype for many subsequent works, such as the Sun Music series, and the 'dualism' idea becomes a vital element of many later pieces, such as Port Essington (1977). It is the most frequently performed of all Sculthorpe's works, has travelled across the world and exists in many recordings. In addition, writings and reviews from 1961 to the present day will be discussed, along with different types of reception, such as the use of the work as part of the Australian national music teaching curriculum and visual representations of the music, such as German painter Thomas Gengenbach's (b.1959) 1990s' series of paintings based on Australian musical works, including Irkanda IV.
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 250
Published: 2nd March 2017
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6