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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Mirror Image on July 14, 2010, 06:58:36 PM

Title: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 14, 2010, 06:58:36 PM
(http://www.bruceduffie.com/scul1a.jpg)

This Australian composer produces earthy, gripping soundscapes with original timbres that incorporate elements of Australian, Japanese, and Southeast Asian musics and express poetic imagery from primal nature and profound human interaction.

Peter Sculthorpe, educated at Launceston Church Grammar School, received his bachelor's degree from the University of Melbourne. His early works (most now withdrawn) were influenced by Varèse and Schoenberg. Performances of the Piano Sonatina (1955), composed of contrasting sonorities, and the vigorously rhythmical Irkanda I (Irkanda in aboriginal speech means "a faraway place"), drew international attention. The String Trio: The Loneliness of Bunjil (1954) exhibits the composer's developing soundscape style employing tone clusters in several registers, brief melodies in compressed ranges, use of quarter-tones, and dynamic chant-like rhythms. At that time, Sculthorpe also scored for Australian radio, television, and film.

In 1958, he left for Wadham College, Oxford, to study with Rubbra and Wellesz. While there, he wrote the Sonata for viola and percussion (1960) with its innovative timbres and new performance techniques. In 1961, he returned to Australia and produced the lyrical and moving Irkanda IV for violin, strings, and percussion. In 1963, he composed The Fifth Continent, a radio score for narrator and orchestra in five parts.

Sculthorpe joined Sydney University in 1963 and was composer-in-residence at Yale (1966 - 1967). After 1965, Sculthorpe's music began to incorporate elements of Japanese and Balinese gamelan musics, explored through Sydney's ethnomusicology department in such pieces as Tabuh Tabuhan (1968, which utilizes the extended wind techniques categorized byBruno Bartolozzi), Sun Music I-IV (1965 - 1969) for orchestra, the improvised Music for Japan, and How the Stars Were Made (1971).

Sculthorpe became visiting professor at the University of Sussex in 1972 - 1973 and serves as a professor in musical composition (personal chair) at the University of Sydney. The musical theater piece Rites of Passage (1972 - 1973), scored for voices, two tubas, three percussionists (playing skin drums on stage), piano (echoed), six cellos, and four double basses, marries the composer's advanced writing with his earlier media and theater experience. The libretto is based on Arnold von Gennep's anthropological study of an individual's social transitions and the music incorporates aboriginal, Ghanaian, and Tibetan chants.

In 1980, Sculthorpe won an Australian Film Industry Award for best original film score for director John Honey's Manganinnie, a powerful drama with lyrical images that re-traces the Black Drive of the 1830s that nearly led to the extinction of the Tasmanian Aborigines. In 1985, he received the APRA Award for most-performed Australian serious work, his Piano Concerto: Pacific. His other works include Child of Australia (1988) for soprano, chorus, narrator, and orchestra; Port Arthur: In Memoriam (1996) for orchestra; Great Sandy Island(1998 - 1999) for orchestra; Rockpool Dreaming (1998 - 1999) for string orchestra and sax;Quamby (2000) for chamber orchestra; and New Norcia (2000) for brass and percussion.


[Article taken from All Music Guide]

Peter Sculthorpe is a composer I was introduced to by fellow Australian GMG member Sid (but another forum about a year ago). After this introduction, I began to seek recordings. One of the first I heard was an ABC recording (with David Porcelijn and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra) of several of Sculthorpe's orchestral works like The Fifth Continent, Little Suite, Port Arthur, Djilile, among others. Many of these works sound as if RVW had lived in Australia and studied the indigenous music of this country instead of the folk songs of his native England. His style is all over-the-map, but one thing remains in all of Sculthorpe's music: an unrelenting lyricism.

Anyway, I would be interested in hearing everybody's thoughts, including my friend Sid, about this very underrated composer.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on July 14, 2010, 07:57:23 PM
Along with some other guys of his generation, like the late Richard Meale, Sculthorpe was instrumental in opening up Australia to influences from the Asia-Pacific region. & as the article notes, he was also one of the first composers to become interested in the music of Australia's native Aboriginal people.

His earlier work was more experimental, but in the past few decades, Sculthorpe has become the "establishment" composer in Australia. There's a huge contrast between the earlier and more recent works. The rich soundscapes of the Sun Musics I-IV, which correspond with Penderecki's experimentations of the same time in the '60's (but easier on the ear?) to the use of Balinese gamelan melodies in the rather tragic Piano Concerto (written after the composer was in a near-fatal car accident, and the contemporaneous death of a number of close friends).

Pivotal to his output are his 18 string quartets (as much as Beethoven, as he likes to remind people). These, like much of his music, have those trademark bird sounds. A more recent work, the Requiem, has a more pared down, almost minimalist feel.

He is a good composer to start with when getting into Australian music. In Australia, he is probably the most performed composer in terms of concerts and radio broadcasts. After Sculthorpe, I found it interesting to listen to the music of the next generation - people like Ross Edwards, Brett Dean, Carl Vine, Elena Kats-Chernin. I'm only beginning to get into Australian music myself, even though I live here I haven't been exposed to it that much, apart from these names...



Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2010, 02:47:40 AM
I have the 'Earth Cry' CD (Naxos) and Requiem. I enjoy the music but need to listen to the Requiem again.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on July 15, 2010, 10:13:16 PM
I was just in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney today (the suburb of Edgecliff), and I saw Sculthorpe at the shopping centre. I didn't go up to him & say anything, I'm not that kind of person, these guys have a right to privacy like anyone else.

Sculthorpe has had a good relationship with many of the ensembles here in Australia, like Synergy Percussion & the Australian Chamber Orchestra. I've seen premieres of a number of his works by the latter.

There have been rumours around that the man is gay, but I'm not really interested in that. Perhaps he's the type of person (& from that generation) that prefers not to "come out." That's fine with me, this doesn't bother me, and I'm sure most other people are the same.

I remember reading his autobiography "Sun Music." His biggest influences early on were Messiaen (the use of bird-song) & Varese (his use of orchestral colour and block-like structures). One composer Sculthorpe develped an antipathy towards was Beethoven, as he was always made to write string quartets in that style when he was in music school. During his youth, Australia was quite an insular and (in many ways) conservative place, but (as I said) Sculthorpe was one of the guys whose composition and teaching began to change all that during the '60's. Two other composers who took Sculthorpe's interest in the region and environment further in their work are Anne Boyd (a lifelong friend) & Ross Edwards.

We're still waiting for a symphony from Sculthorpe (although the set of four Sun Musics act like a defacto one), or an opera. I don't think we should hold our breath...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: The new erato on July 15, 2010, 10:55:22 PM
I've been buying his string quartets on Tall Poppies and like them (I still lack vol 3 but plan to rectify that). Quiet and comtemplative music with some original touches, can well relate to them being bird sounds. No 9 seems particularly interesting, and I've listened to these discs repeatedly. Also the Requiem (on an ABC double) - imagine Faure with a didgeridoo - seems very fine if contemplative is your thing, but I need more than one listening. Searching for Sculthorpe will turn up my posts. Next time you see him, tell him he has a fan in Norway. I hope he will be delighted.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: kentel on July 19, 2010, 11:45:23 AM
Next time you see him, tell him he has a fan in Norway. I hope he will be delighted.

Tell him he has another one in France  :)

I fully agree with your comment about bird songs, it is a very significant feature of his music, as the use of aborigenal music; I think I heard almost all the cds published by the Australian ABC label and I love almost all of them (not all though) and the one with the string quartets is certainly one of the bests. I consider Sculthorpe as one of today's most interesting living composers.

I'll write a more detailed comment when I get a little bit time.

--Gilles
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on July 19, 2010, 05:35:51 PM
We're still waiting for [...] an opera. I don't think we should hold our breath...

He actually already has an opera, which was performed in Australia but was never recorded, unfortunately. I hate to mention this, but we might have to wait until after his death for this one.

Chalk up another fan for this great man's music. I hope his music gets more performances outside of his native country. Everyone I ask about him here just gives me blank stares.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on October 29, 2010, 05:37:26 PM
I just went to the world premiere of a new arrangement by Peter Sculthorpe of his String Quartet No. 18 called Sonata No. 5 for string orchestra. This was commissioned as part of the "101 compositions for 100 years" celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It was performed by the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra conducted by Imre Pallo. I have posted about this on the concerts thread, but thought I'd put it here also.

Before the work was played, the composer talked about how this work reflects his concern for climate change and how this is impacting on Australia. This is a fragile continent indeed, 80% of it very arid desert country. Most of us here just cling to the coastal (Eastern) cities, and there is concern in the press often about the sustainability of our lifestyle. Sculthorpe said that he had thought about ending the work in a darker way, but said that he's an optimist and couldn't bear to do that, no matter how (sometimes) grim the outlook in these matters. The movements were titled Prelude - A Land Singing - A Dying Land - A Lost Land - Postlude. There were the usual trademark Sculthorpe sounds - insect sounds, bird song, and the drone of the didgeridoo simulated by the strings. The middle movements sounded similar to his Sun Musics a bit. Initially, when hearing the optimistic ending of the work in the original version on radio (the birds return after the desolation of the middle movements), I thought it was a bit cheesy. But talking to a woman during the interval, she said that we need a bit of optimism in this day and age & I think that's true. I really liked the sound of the five double basses - awsome!

I think it's interesting how Sculthorpe has managed to develop a quite distinctly "Australian" sound, and even though his starting points were guys like Messiaen & Varese (detailed in his autobiography), he has never copied or aped these composers (it's more to do with the way they thought about music)...

Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: snyprrr on October 31, 2010, 10:10:19 PM
I've only heard SQ No.8 by the Kronos. I was thinking about that Brodsky disc of SQs.

(climate change ::),...sorry! :-*)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Holden on November 01, 2010, 01:20:04 AM

He is a good composer to start with when getting into Australian music. In Australia, he is probably the most performed composer in terms of concerts and radio broadcasts. After Sculthorpe, I found it interesting to listen to the music of the next generation - people like Ross Edwards, Brett Dean, Carl Vine, Elena Kats-Chernin. I'm only beginning to get into Australian music myself, even though I live here I haven't been exposed to it that much, apart from these names...

As a fellow Aussie can I recommend Graham Koehne.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 10, 2010, 08:06:02 PM
Has anyone heard Sculthorpe's Cello Dreaming for cello and orchestra? This is such a beautiful and mesmerizing work. I listened to it twice in the past two days. It's one of those works that you can go back time and time again and get lost in. The colors, the textures, I don't think I've heard a contemporary classical work for cello that has been as moving as this one. Simply gorgeous. All Sculthorpe fans should hear it.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on November 10, 2010, 08:16:05 PM
I personally haven't heard that particular work (Cello Dreaming), but I have heard a number of his works for strings with orchestra (one violin one last year in concert with the Australian Chamber Orchestra - forget the title - & I also have his Lament for cello and orchestra on one of the ABC cd's). The thing that strikes me about these works is their static nature - & Sculthorpe has said that he was hugely influenced by Messiaen. Just listen to (say) the two Eulogy movements in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time & you'll immediately know what I mean. Those long legato, static structures at the highest registers of the cello and violin. Sculthorpe was also influenced by Messiaen in his use of bird call sounds...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 10, 2010, 08:31:31 PM
I personally haven't heard that particular work (Cello Dreaming), but I have heard a number of his works for strings with orchestra (one violin one last year in concert with the Australian Chamber Orchestra - forget the title - & I also have his Lament for cello and orchestra on one of the ABC cd's). The thing that strikes me about these works is their static nature - & Sculthorpe has said that he was hugely influenced by Messiaen. Just listen to (say) the two Eulogy movements in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time & you'll immediately know what I mean. Those long legato, static structures at the highest registers of the cello and violin. Sculthorpe was also influenced by Messiaen in his use of bird call sounds...

Interestingly enough, Cello Dreaming uses bird calls towards the beginning, the central section, and at the very end if I'm not mistaken. I don't hear the Messiaen influence in this work at all. What I do hear is Sculthorpe's unabashed lyricism to the forefront. I'm particularly in awe of his orchestration in this work, which is something I've been trying to put less emphasis on lately, because orchestration, for me, at one time, was a crucial thing. I looked at it as almost an artform by itself, but now I know that it's important, but not as important as the music itself. I mean look at Liszt. He was a terrible orchestrator, but his Faust Symphony just works because the musical ideas within that work were strong enough on their own that I could easily overlook this.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 15, 2010, 10:02:46 PM
It's a shame that a composer of Sculthorpe's caliber goes unnoticed even on classical forums where one expects the more hardcore listeners to at least branch out and explore music outside of Europe. I think it's really a sad state of affairs when people limit themselves to one continent.
 
Judging from the few responses on this thread, it seems that Sid and I are really the only ones interested in getting beyond Europe.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on November 15, 2010, 10:12:02 PM
Yes, but I suppose he's got more competition now than he had back in the middle of the C20th. There's loads of Aussie composers doing excellent stuff now (not to speak of rock bands & others in the non-classical world). But the Kronos Quartet did do a recording of some (or one?) of Sculthorpe's string quartets which I remember reading about in Norman Lebrecht's book. Apparently, it sold very well internationally at the time (the 1980's?)...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 15, 2010, 10:29:08 PM
Yes, but I suppose he's got more competition now than he had back in the middle of the C20th. There's loads of Aussie composers doing excellent stuff now (not to speak of rock bands & others in the non-classical world). But the Kronos Quartet did do a recording of some (or one?) of Sculthorpe's string quartets which I remember reading about in Norman Lebrecht's book. Apparently, it sold very well internationally at the time (the 1980's?)...

I'm not sure if competition is the right word to use. Music is hardly a competition. I think Sculthorpe is a unique musical persona whose sound is as identifiable as Bartok or RVW or Schoenberg. It's just that distinctive to me now. It took months of listening to his music for it to finally click with me. Even though Sculthorpe works in mainly a tonal idiom, I still was having some trouble with what he was trying to say with his music. Thankfully, I understand it much better now and I have become enchanted with almost everything I've heard from him.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on November 15, 2010, 10:44:45 PM
Yes, well he has done some interesting things & has really been a great ambassador for our country musically speaking. He's probably the only composer who gained any real international foothold in the '60's and '70's (apart from say Grainger - who my old copy of the Oxford Companion to Music describes as more of an American composer than an Australian, since he spent so much time in your country). Despite being in his eighties now, Sculthorpe is still composing actively, and turning out music which is well worth investigating in more depth because he has composed in all genres, except opera...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 15, 2010, 10:49:00 PM
Yes, well he has done some interesting things & has really been a great ambassador for our country musically speaking. He's probably the only composer who gained any real international foothold in the '60's and '70's (apart from say Grainger - who my old copy of the Oxford Companion to Music describes as more of an American composer than an Australian, since he spent so much time in your country). Despite being in his eighties now, Sculthorpe is still composing actively, and turning out music which is well worth investigating in more depth because he has composed in all genres, except opera...

Yeah, I don't really consider Grainger an Australian composer because like you said he spent some much time abroad. He was very much a nomad.
 
Getting back to Sculthorpe, have you heard his Requiem? I'm not sure you mentioned you have or not, but I would be curious to read any comments you may have concerning this work.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2010, 11:46:45 AM
(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/Sculthorpe_Earth_Cry.jpg)
 
This came in the mail today and just finished listening to it. What a smoking performance! Man somebody needs to hose this CD off!  8)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on November 16, 2010, 04:00:54 PM
Yes, the late Stuart Challender (who rather tragically died of AIDS in the early '90's) certainly had a way with Australian music. I remember seeing him conduct, and yes, he was very energetic and fiery. Kakadu is my favourite work on that cd, it perfectly conjures up the lushness of the rainforest, and the animal life there (particularly the waterbirds). It's interesting how in works like Mangrove, there is a predominance of low notes, mirroring the flatness of that kind of landscape (there are no sudden contrasts or leaps, everything is kind of close to the ground). Sculthorpe writes about these things in his autobiography Sun Music, which you might like to read.

& yes, I did hear his Requiem on a radio broadcast anchored by the man himself in his 80th year (last year). I remember it as being quite minimalistic and interesting, because I had never heard a choral work by him before. My local library network has it, and I will borrow it at some stage for more deeper listening...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2010, 05:18:39 PM
Yes, the late Stuart Challender (who rather tragically died of AIDS in the early '90's) certainly had a way with Australian music. I remember seeing him conduct, and yes, he was very energetic and fiery. Kakadu is my favourite work on that cd, it perfectly conjures up the lushness of the rainforest, and the animal life there (particularly the waterbirds). It's interesting how in works like Mangrove, there is a predominance of low notes, mirroring the flatness of that kind of landscape. Sculthorpe writes about these things in his autobiography Sun Music, which you might like to read.

& yes, I did hear his Requiem on a radio broadcast anchored by the man himself in his 80th year (last year). I remember it as being quite minimalistic and interesting, because I had never heard a choral work by him before. My local library network has it, and I will borrow it at some stage for more deeper listening...

Thanks for the information, Sid. I did not know that about Stuart Challender. That is truly heartbreaking, because I have his Vine performances as well and there's such a passion there in the music and you can feel it no question about it.
 
I'm about to pickup another Sculthorpe disc. Have you seen or heard this one:
 
(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/Sculthorpe_Port_Essington.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid on November 16, 2010, 05:30:17 PM
Well, maybe the cause of Challender's death is not much talked about, because there's still a bit of a stigma surrounding AIDS? I'm not sure, but I remember hearing a broadcast of his memorial service from the Sydney Town Hall. I think it was 1992, the year we also lost the artist Brett Whiteley from a drug overdose. But a thing which Sculthorpe and Challender had in common was that they both came from Tasmania - make of that what you will?

I have heard bits of the Australia Chamber Orchestra disc you got, on radio broadcasts. These are interesting works, particularly the string sonatas. Port Essington contrasts Aboriginal and European musics to tell a story about the white colonisation (invasion?) of this continent. It is considered one of his best programmatic works. I have seen this ensemble perform Sculthorpe (he usually writes something for them to premiere each year). He has had a good relationship with them, not only with current (for the last 20 years) director Richard Tognetti, but also their last director, Carl Pini (who's still active in chamber music circles) who's more of his generation. Another group who he's written for is the Goldner String Quartet, who have recorded all of his 18 string quartets to date...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 16, 2010, 05:54:24 PM
Well, maybe the cause of Challender's death is not much talked about, because there's still a bit of a stigma surrounding AIDS? I'm not sure, but I remember hearing a broadcast of his memorial service from the Sydney Town Hall. I think it was 1992, the year we also lost the artist Brett Whiteley from a drug overdose. But a thing which Sculthorpe and Challender had in common was that they both came from Tasmania - make of that what you will?

I have heard bits of the Australia Chamber Orchestra disc you got, on radio broadcasts. These are interesting works, particularly the string sonatas. Port Essington contrasts Aboriginal and European musics to tell a story about the white colonisation (invasion?) of this continent. It is considered one of his best programmatic works. I have seen this ensemble perform Sculthorpe (he usually writes something for them to premiere each year). He has had a good relationship with them, not only with current (for the last 20 years) director Richard Tognetti, but also their last director, Carl Pini (who's still active in chamber music circles) who's more of his generation. Another group who he's written for is the Goldner String Quartet, who have recorded all of his 18 string quartets to date...

Port Essington sounds very interesting. Can't wait to hear it. After I receive this recording, I will have 6 Sculthorpe recordings, which I'm proud to say there's not a bad one in the bunch. :)
 
I think there's one more Sculthorpe recording I need to get on ABC Classics and I think Challender is the conductor.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Brewski on November 17, 2010, 07:23:09 AM

I'm about to pickup another Sculthorpe disc. Have you seen or heard this one:
 
(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/Sculthorpe_Port_Essington.jpg)

This is the only "all-Sculthorpe" CD I have, and it's excellent.  (I bought it years ago, in its earlier incarnation, with the cover design below.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2010, 08:29:33 AM
This is the only "all-Sculthorpe" CD I have

You should definitely checkout more of his music, Bruce.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on November 30, 2010, 06:20:02 AM
I like Quamby for full orchestra, which is on the ABC Aussie Composers CD. Reminds me a bit of RVW Antarctica, in parts it's unforgiving and dark.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 14, 2010, 08:24:25 PM
I like Quamby for full orchestra, which is on the ABC Aussie Composers CD. Reminds me a bit of RVW Antarctica, in parts it's unforgiving and dark.


Quamby is a great work. What other Sculthorpe compositions do you enjoy?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 15, 2010, 05:57:10 AM
Quamby/Cello Dreaming/Nourlangie/Music for Bali (http://www.amazon.de/Quamby-Cello-Dreaming-Nourlangie-Music/dp/B000A2H3EY/ref=sr_1_9?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1292420979&sr=1-9)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JGPpZlMAL._SS500_.jpg)

I must admit I haven't carefully listened (just once, some time ago) to the other works. I think I'll try Nourlangie today again.
What on this CD and in general do you recommend for those of usw ho are following the late romantic path with maybe Shostakovich as the climax? But please not too avantgardistic :)

Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 17, 2010, 05:29:17 PM
Quamby/Cello Dreaming/Nourlangie/Music for Bali (http://www.amazon.de/Quamby-Cello-Dreaming-Nourlangie-Music/dp/B000A2H3EY/ref=sr_1_9?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1292420979&sr=1-9)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JGPpZlMAL._SS500_.jpg)

I must admit I haven't carefully listened (just once, some time ago) to the other works. I think I'll try Nourlangie today again.
What on this CD and in general do you recommend for those of us who are following the late romantic path with maybe Shostakovich as the climax? But please not too avantgardistic :)


That's a fine disc. Cello Dreaming is the finest work on that recording in my opinion, but the other works are fine as well.


I would try to track down all of his ABC Classics recordings, especially the one with the late Stuart Challender conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. You may want to try this recording (very cheap by the way) with James Judd/New Zealand Symphony Orch. on Naxos:


(http://ml.naxos.jp/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.557382.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on December 18, 2010, 12:11:09 AM
I will second that Naxos recording. It has the best recording of the piano concerto out there (I've heard about six or seven different recordings of it), along with competitive readings of other popular orchestral works of his. William Barton adds a nice didjeridoo solo to Earth Cry, but to me, it is really unnecessary. Tamara Anna Cislowski is the real star, though, and she played the hell out of the piece here (it's even better than her early recording on ABC Classics).
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2010, 07:57:19 PM
I will second that Naxos recording. It has the best recording of the piano concerto out there (I've heard about six or seven different recordings of it), along with competitive readings of other popular orchestral works of his. William Barton adds a nice didjeridoo solo to Earth Cry, but to me, it is really unnecessary. Tamara Anna Cislowski is the real star, though, and she played the hell out of the piece here (it's even better than her early recording on ABC Classics).


I like the original version of Earth Cry with no didjeridoo. The best performance of this work I've heard is from an ABC recording with Stuart Challender conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on June 07, 2011, 04:59:25 PM
Time to revive this thread after a hiatus from Sculthorpe's music. I have to say that each time I return to his music I hear a unique compositional voice. One that was unafraid to compose the music he wanted to without worrying about what the "establishment" thought about him. I really think that many of his works are worthy of repertoire status. Works like Earth Cry would be a great way to open a concert. It has such powerful rhythms and an aggressive drive to it that it will surely attract fans of Bartok's music. I just got through listening to Cello Dreaming again and I'm still stunned by this work each time I hear it. It's remarkable in its textures, but also by the straightforwardness of the main melody, which found throughout the work. I just like the structure and sound of the work. This could easily be repertoire piece for cellist across the world, but alas, people don't seem to be doing all they can to support music of today. There's a lot of good music out there you just have to find it. There are still composers like Salonen, Sculthorpe, Vine, Lindberg who are working in a tonal idiom and breathing new life into it. They all favor their dissonance, but this is just a natural part of the succession from music of the 20th Century.

For those who enjoy Sculthorpe's music, how do you feel about his music? Do you wish there were more recordings that existed like I do? It seems that ABC Classics are the only ones that continue to promote his music, but those discs are so expensive that many people simply can't afford to hear his music. I was lucky to have bought several of the ABC recordings at good prices when I did, but I would love to hear James Judd continue his foray into Sculthorpe's music. I think he could really work wonders with this composer.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 08, 2011, 05:28:32 PM
I have three of the ABC discs, which were made available in a box sleeve. I'm afraid I don't think much of Sculthorpe; he is a diligent worker, but I find his ideas consistently second rate and ultimately tedious. It is a shame this guy is the most prominent Australian composer. Of course, as I am Australian, this could be what we call "cultural cringe"!
 
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid James on June 08, 2011, 05:43:02 PM
@ eyeresist -

Well I was just talking to a guy I came across last week who was a professional musician in a "former life" and he said that in studying and playing both of their (& many other's) music, he thought that Sculthorpe was just a unique composer as Messiaen. I never thought of it like that, I'm not a musician of any sort, but I do come across quite a few regularly. I have never heard any of them dissing great musicians or composers as I do some people on this forum (this is not a personal attack on you, just on the "vibe" of this forum, in some respects it comes across to me as being a "paralell universe" to music appreciation and music making in "real life," which is always more positive than this)...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on June 08, 2011, 06:04:47 PM
@ eyeresist -

Well I was just talking to a guy I came across last week who was a professional musician in a "former life" and he said that in studying and playing both of their (& many other's) music, he thought that Sculthorpe was just a unique composer as Messiaen. I never thought of it like that, I'm not a musician of any sort, but I do come across quite a few regularly. I have never heard any of them dissing great musicians or composers as I do some people on this forum (this is not a personal attack on you, just on the "vibe" of this forum, in some respects it comes across to me as being a "paralell universe" to music appreciation and music making in "real life," which is always more positive than this)...

I totally agree, Sid. It's time for people on this forum to stop with the negativity. Calling Sculthorpe's musical ideas "second rate" tells me more about the poster than it does Sculthorpe. Having heard a lot of his music, I don't hear second-rate ideas, I hear a man bearing his soul to the listener. I hear a great vulnerability in his music. Music is something that's very personal for me, but I think if you don't like a composer's music, then a person needs to keep their thoughts to themselves unless asked. We're all guilty of this time to time, some more than others, but I think people should focus on the music they truly love instead of the music they dislike.

Anyway back to Scultorpe's music!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: snyprrr on June 08, 2011, 06:11:39 PM
Anyone heard the Brodsky cd?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 08, 2011, 06:42:12 PM
C'mon, guys, don't jump on me like that! It's not like I'm going to do a James on this thread. Just giving my honest evaluation, and I thought you might be interested in an Australian opinion.

BTW, here's an odd piece of news:

Quote
His Majesty the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, has awarded the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica to Peter Sculthorpe. The award was conferred at a ceremony in Canberra on 14 May 2011.

http://www.petersculthorpe.com.au/
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on June 08, 2011, 06:44:29 PM
C'mon, guys, don't jump on me like that! It's not like I'm going to do a James on this thread. Just giving my honest evaluation, and I thought you might be interested in an Australian opinion.

Sid is Australian.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid James on June 08, 2011, 06:50:59 PM
Quote
Calling Sculthorpe's musical ideas "second rate" tells me more about the poster than it does Sculthorpe. Having heard a lot of his music, I don't hear second-rate ideas, I hear a man bearing his soul to the listener. I hear a great vulnerability in his music...

I haven't heard a huge amount of Sculthorpe's music - what I have on disc is summed up on my earlier posts on this thread. I have heard quite a few of his works live in the concert halls - premieres - but I forget the specifics. However, what I've heard of his music, it does come across to me to be very enjoyable on many levels. I particularly like how he has a "knack" for imaging the Australian landscape, from the harsh and dry outback (Sun Musics), to the jungle/rainforest areas (Kakadu Suite), to the beautiful seashore which wraps around this island continent (Fifth Continent). If I can see all of those images in his music, it mustn't be that bad at all. I even sent a disc of his orchestral music overseas to a dear friend of mine, who has kind of been getting into classical for the past decade, and this friend absolutely loved it! The friend "saw" so many images in his music! If he can reach out with these quite complex works to even those who are beginning to get into classical, then I think the man's doing something right?...

I totally agree, Sid. It's time for people on this forum to stop with the negativity....Music is something that's very personal for me, but I think if you don't like a composer's music, then a person needs to keep their thoughts to themselves unless asked. We're all guilty of this time to time, some more than others, but I think people should focus on the music they truly love instead of the music they dislike.

I do want to emphasise that eyeresist was saying "I find" - eg. telling it like he sees it, which is fine by me. I just don't like his mentioning of the "cultural cringe." I have written above that quite a lot of Sculthorpe's early music from the '60's was quite innovative. You'll find the same glissandos and harmonic aspects in the Sun Musics as are in the music of Penderecki at that time. But when he wrote it, Sculthorpe had not heard any of the Polish composer's music! So there's no bottom feeder, carbon copying, "cultural cringe" there. Quite a few Australian composers have been at the forefront of experimentation & innovation. I mean nobody around here talks about the late Richard Meale, who I think is arguably our finest composer. Such a versatile talent he had. I was at a concert of two of what many regard to be his finest chamber works the string quartet "Cantilena Pacifica" and the sextet (?) Incredible Floridas. I have previously written about that concert on the concerts thread, and also reviewed the cd on "what are you listening to." Anyway, guys of that generation - Sculthorpe, Meale, Conyngham to name three - have been no slouches when it comes to writing quite experimental music. I think people should actually get out there and listen to some of these and other guys works before saying things to the effect that Australian music is not up to international standards. I'm no expert in Australian or any other music, I'm a generalist, but what I've heard on disc, radio and in concerts over the years has not struck me as being below par in any sense at all (in fact, quite the opposite)...

C'mon, guys, don't jump on me like that! It's not like I'm going to do a James on this thread. Just giving my honest evaluation, and I thought you might be interested in an Australian opinion.
 

I had written my argument above before your reply quoted here came up, I already specified that you are welcome to give your opinion, but also that I disagree with it. I'm not making things personal in any sense (I hope?). I know you emphasised this was your opinion only. I just kind of "balked" at the "cultural cringe" comment, I thought Australia was over (or at least on the way to getting over) that.

BTW - thanks for the news about the award from Spain to Mr Sculthorpe. I'm always interested in keeping abreast of stuff like this. That's one of the reason I come to these forums, despite my reservations about some member's attitudes to music in general. It's good that you looked at Sculthorpe's website, shows that you are trying to understand him or research about him, even though you're not impressed with him, from what I can gather...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 08, 2011, 07:12:22 PM
I do want to emphasise that eyeresist was saying "I find" - eg. telling it like he sees it, which is fine by me. I just don't like his mentioning of the "cultural cringe." I have written above that quite a lot of Sculthorpe's early music from the '60's was quite innovative. You'll find the same glissandos and harmonic aspects in the Sun Musics as are in the music of Penderecki at that time. But when he wrote it, Sculthorpe had not heard any of the Polish composer's music! So there's no bottom feeder, carbon copying, "cultural cringe" there.

Sid, I think you misunderstand what I meant by cultural cringe. I meant it as a description not of the object of criticism, but rather a description of a bias of the critic against "local product". So, in this case, I worry I might have a subconscious attitude of "Oh, Sculthorpe is Australian, therefore he can't be as good as any of the foreign composers" - that attitude would be cultural cringe.

While I am nitpicking in the area of language usage... It's no good praising Sculthorpe as "unique". Unique is not the same as good. I personally am a unique individual, but a rotten composer!
 
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid James on June 08, 2011, 07:55:12 PM
@ eyeresist (this is more of a general statement about the state of things on this forum, not really directed against you personally) -

Let me say on the outset that it's good to have another Australian on the forum (besides myself and the guy from W.A. who used to be called Conor - I think he's called mooyaj now, something like that?).

But I think we should be looking at the positives of Austalian (or any other) music in general rather than taking things apart bit by bit and arguing about (what I see as) not particularly useful semantics. I don't really care about technical things that are really above my head, it's the musicians that have to care about these things - it's their job. When listening to a new piece I just try to get out of it what I can. Even if I feel it's like 5 per cent, then at least the performer or composer has given me that much, put in great effort, to just give me that small gift of their talent and hard work. As I said, in comparison to my "real life" discussions on music with musicians and music lovers I know - from close friends to acquaintances, work colleagues, or just 5 minute conversations with the musicians after concerts - some of the attitudes on this forum come across to me to be in another universe, on another planet. The people I talk to in "real life" don't argue endlessly and bicker about trivial things. Some are more opinionated or "oddball" than others, but that's just life. But even with the few people at more extreme ends of the spectrum, I find it quite easy to reach "middle ground." Not so here. Endless arguments about composers, eras, performers, and more. Of course, some positive things do happen here, that's part of the reason why it's not a bad thing to participate in some way. But in the end, aren't we all batting for the same team? If you like Beethoven's 5th symphony, does it really matter who plays it?...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 08, 2011, 08:19:56 PM
When listening to a new piece I just try to get out of it what I can. Even if I feel it's like 5 per cent, then at least the performer or composer has given me that much, put in great effort, to just give me that small gift of their talent and hard work. As I said, in comparison to my "real life" discussions on music with musicians and music lovers I know - from close friends to acquaintances, work colleagues, or just 5 minute conversations with the musicians after concerts - some of the attitudes on this forum come across to me to be in another universe, on another planet. The people I talk to in "real life" don't argue endlessly and bicker about trivial things. Some are more opinionated or "oddball" than others, but that's just life. But even with the few people at more extreme ends of the spectrum, I find it quite easy to reach "middle ground." Not so here. Endless arguments about composers, eras, performers, and more. Of course, some positive things do happen here, that's part of the reason why it's not a bad thing to participate in some way. But in the end, aren't we all batting for the same team? If you like Beethoven's 5th symphony, does it really matter who plays it?...

I think there's only so far you can go if you determine to only focus on the positive. A discussion that goes "This thing is good," "Yes, it is good. This other thing is also good," Yes, it is good," can only go so far. For me, the really interesting discussions here happen when differing opinions are aired, with thought and with respect for the validity of alternative views.  You will also find that people can even be critical of music or composers they love, and it's not a negative thing, it's actually a kind of affection. After all, real love doesn't mean thinking the loved one is flawless, it means seeing all the flaws and accepting them.
 
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on June 08, 2011, 08:40:06 PM
I think there's only so far you can go if you determine to only focus on the positive. A discussion that goes "This thing is good," "Yes, it is good. This other thing is also good," Yes, it is good," can only go so far. For me, the really interesting discussions here happen when differing opinions are aired, with thought and with respect for the validity of alternative views.  You will also find that people can even be critical of music or composers they love, and it's not a negative thing, it's actually a kind of affection. After all, real love doesn't mean thinking the loved one is flawless, it means seeing all the flaws and accepting them.

Yes, this is a good point. I find many flaws in the composers I love, but these flaws can also act as a way of finding the positive aspects of their music too. In fact, we love the composers we love because they are flawed. But if we do love the composer then naturally we're going to gravitate towards what they excelled at rather than focus on the music they didn't do so well in.

Like, for example, Lindberg couldn't write a tune if his life depended on it, but I don't listen to Lindberg for "tunes," I listen for harmony, the orchestral color, and the downright exuberance his music projects. Also he is, in my mind, one of the finest orchestrators working today.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid James on June 08, 2011, 09:23:10 PM
This conversation has crystallised how I see music, which is in a simple way, based on actual experience rather than theory. Let me relate an experience I had when I attended a premiere of one of Sculthorpe's works here at Sydney Conservatorium of Music last year.

The man was there himself, and talked about the work in some detail, for about 15 minutes. It was not technical information but more the background of the work and how he came to compose it, and the images and "world view" that he was trying to express in it. All I remember is that it was a work for string orchestra. There was a woman next to me in the audience who I had not met before, but she was very moved by this work. This was the first half of the concert, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra followed in the second half. Anyway, I found out after the Sculthorpe piece that she had relatively little experience with classical music, she had just come along to the concert because she read about it in the newspaper. Anyway, this woman went up to Mr Sculthorpe and thanked him for being a kind of musical ambassador for our country. She hugged him and he kissed her on the cheek. This man, who has had accolades from the "highest" musical quarters in this country and over the world, was clearly quite moved by how his music affected this ordinary person. I was just witness to this, I didn't say anything. Basically, one can listen to all of Sculthorpe's cd's or read all the books about him, but this kind of moment taught me more about the man and his music than any textbook or theoretical analysis ever will. I leave these things to the expert musicians who were playing on the stage, students in the final year of their studies at the con, and their conductor who was Dr Imre Pallo, one of the senior staff there (this Hungarian guy has worked with the likes of Kodaly). As a listener, I aim to retain the "purity" of vision of this ordinary woman, who connected with the man and his music (with little experience musically, but the real experience that matters, imo, is LIFE EXPERIENCE!!!). I'm not interested in the (sorry) pseudo-intellectual waffle.

I think this true story says all what I'm saying, and tells me how I'm not on the same wavelength as some of the members of this forum. Often, it's like in "real life" conversations about music or other things I'm on firm(er) ground, whereas when I log on here, I'm like visiting a totally different planet...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 08, 2011, 10:44:20 PM
You seem to be saying that anything that is not gushing praise is "pseudo-intellectual waffle".

I hope you don't think I approach music in a coldly intellectual way. My musical opinions are very much shaped by my emotional reactions. Thinking comes much later, when attempting to explain to myself why I like (or don't like) something. But in order to figure this out, evaluation is unavoidable. Does the piece feel too long (or too short)? Is this melody fresh or banal? How do I feel about the underlying attitude I perceive in the music (aggressive, sentimental, mystical, grand, intellectual)?
Do you ever ask yourself these kinds of things, or are all questions forbidden?

Sorry I have led this thread so far off topic, BTW.
 
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Sid James on June 09, 2011, 12:55:13 AM
@ eyeresist (& also philocletes, mirror image, sorry i didn't have time to address your ideas seperately, i just put that story here to think about, as it's about Sculthorpe, but also about wider things) -

You are making good points, but what that experience seeing Sculthorpe and the other audience member's reaction taught me was that often all of these technical & theoretical things just get in the way of getting in touch with the music in a more direct way. I mean, I have read Sculthorpe's autobiography (called "Sun Music" after that piece, published about 10 years ago, I'm not sure if he's done a new edition). But even before reading that, I could clearly hear the influence of Messiaen & Varese in his music. Takemitsu was a third one he named in the book, but I wasn't familiar enough with his music to make the connection. Sculthorpe mentions these three as defining influences on his style, but even before I read his own words about this, I could clearly hear the "vibe" or feel of the two Frenchmen in the music I was listening to. But by the same token, Sculthorpe's music is also totally different - as I said in one of my posts above, he often images the Australian landscape. So "my way" or first experience of his music was related to other composers whose music I knew (& I knew them less in a theoretical way, but more intuitive). The woman at the concert or the friend overseas who I sent one of his cd's to didn't have that kind of background knowledge or whatever you'd call it, but it really doesn't matter. What it boils down to is the individual listener making sense of and approaching music in their own unique way. I just come to each composer or performer for that matter on their own terms. I've had enough of intellectuallising and all that stuff. It doesn't really mean much to me now, maybe it did in the past, but I'm over it.

Anyway, I know MI is a big fan of Sculthorpe's music, and also Aussie music in general. But if you or others aren't, it might be a good idea to seek out other Australian composers in any way you could. A lot of what I've heard from them was on radio here in Sydney, and also in concerts. You don't have to own stacks of cd's to get your head around Australian music, or any music for that matter. This issue is broader than this thread, you're right. I actually deregistered off my old name (Sid) on the weekend. I came back here to just contribute in my own way, particularly in the area of Aussie composers and performers. I listen to all kinds of music from ancient to modern, from serious to light (if one wants to attach labels, another thing which I think is of no use to me, the way I appreciate music). I go to concerts here in Sydney on a fairly regular basis, to see what our great musicians do. I think I will continue to contribute to the "concerts" thread, but that'll be just about it. My philosophy or "vibe" regarding music, and probably quite a few other things, seems to be seriously at odds with many people on this forum. As I said, compared to most of my real life exchanges with people I know about music (& other things) this forum is another universe, another planet. This isn't a value judgement, it's not a matter of black or white, right or wrong, it's more subtle. So this is "it" for me, at least for a while, but I may write concert reviews on that thread, since there are a number of people interested in Australian things here...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: DavidW on June 09, 2011, 02:40:35 AM
Sid, if you wish to participate in a discussion that involves less contrast and comparison between recordings and more discussion about theory, composers and performers you should try classical.net's moderated mailing list.  It's strictly moderated, each message takes the form of an insightful essay.  Even grammatical errors will result in your message not being submitted to the list.  Very deep discussion, it should be right up your alley. :)

http://www.classical.net/music/subscrib.php (http://www.classical.net/music/subscrib.php)

Please don't blame us or harbor ill feelings because we don't approach classical music discussion the same way that you do.  I would wish that you accept us for who we are, and contribute to this forum in your own way.  Expecting us to change to suit you is unreasonable and will only cause grief on your part.  Please stay this time... we have cookies! ;D

 :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2011, 03:57:18 AM
I will second that Naxos recording. It has the best recording of the piano concerto out there (I've heard about six or seven different recordings of it), along with competitive readings of other popular orchestral works of his. William Barton adds a nice didjeridoo solo to Earth Cry, but to me, it is really unnecessary. Tamara Anna Cislowski is the real star, though, and she played the hell out of the piece here (it's even better than her early recording on ABC Classics).

Thanks for this.

Your comment makes it all the more . . . amusing . . . that the entire clip for Earth Cry on the Amazon page consists of didjeridoo
; )
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2011, 04:08:46 AM
I totally agree, Sid. It's time for people on this forum to stop with the negativity. Calling Sculthorpe's musical ideas "second rate" tells me more about the poster than it does Sculthorpe.

Gosh, maybe the problem is not calling some music "second-rate" (which I find either informative — because honestly, not all music can be be great . . . if it's all great, then none of it is great — or a challenge . . . Really? Maybe I want to hear this myself, and see if I agree that the music is shy of greatness) but of those of us who are enthusiastic for relatively lesser-known composers not getting our heckles up because, gosh, not everyone else is swimmingly enamoored of the music.

I'll repeat a story which I once read in a Machlis text (I think), of a sophomore complaining that they were going to spend part of the class studying Mendelssohn. "But isn't he second-rate?" The professor considered a second, and answered, "Yes, certainly, but I am not at all sure that you understand how frightfully good that is."

 
If I am so Kool-Aided up with, say, Langgaard (some days it seems I am on a course to accrue recordings of as much of his output as possible) that, if anyone were to remark that he is a second-rate composer, I get all bent out of joint because of the Iscariot-like denial of my favorite composer's Genius — the problem is not the other guy's "negativity," but that I need to take a tranquilizer. (Usually a tumbler of Bushmill's does the trick for me.)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on June 09, 2011, 03:09:41 PM
Karl, the calming voice of reason as usual. How the hell does he do that?

I should really apologise for my original post, not because it was negative but because I didn't really justify my opinion. Apart from the fact that I really just find the music too aggravating to listen to it again and assemble a critical opinion, I must be honest and admit the post was partly motivated by frustration at being unable to voice my negative opinions on certain more prominent composers (for fear of being jumped on by the right-thinkers). And there was little unknown Sculthorpe, an easy target. So not to retract my opinion, but admittedly my motives for the post were less than well thought-out, and not entirely fair.

BTW, if Sid wants those cookies, he'd better hurry  *munch munch*
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Amfortas on June 24, 2011, 08:14:45 AM
I just heard a tremendous live performance of "Kakadu" by the Sydney Symphony Orch, Vladimir Ashkenazy is a fantastic conductor.
You can hear it here for one more day (it's labeled as a Prokofiev concert, but begins with the Sculthorpe, Bax and others):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120815/Through_the_Night_24_06_2011/ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120815/Through_the_Night_24_06_2011/)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on June 26, 2011, 06:23:57 PM
I just heard a tremendous live performance of "Kakadu" by the Sydney Symphony Orch, Vladimir Ashkenazy is a fantastic conductor.
You can hear it here for one more day (it's labeled as a Prokofiev concert, but begins with the Sculthorpe, Bax and others):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120815/Through_the_Night_24_06_2011/ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120815/Through_the_Night_24_06_2011/)

I wonder how much Sculthorpe, Vine, Meale, Dean, Edwards, etc. Ashkenazy has conducted so far? I wish Ashkenazy would release a whole recording of Australian classical music.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2012, 09:05:43 PM
I thought it was time to resurrect this thread. I've been listening to a lot of Sculthorpe's music again. I have come to the conclusion that I think he's one of the finest composers of the second half of the 20th Century. I read through a lot of these posts on this thread again and I have to say that I really miss former GMG member Sid a lot. He always provided insightful commentary and even though he and I sometimes fought like cats and dogs, I always valued his opinion.

To perhaps get the conversation flowing again, what are everybody's favorite Sculthorpe compositions?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 09, 2012, 01:05:19 AM
As an Aussie I have to say Sculthorpe is an inescapable part of the Australian music scene, and deservedly so. He has written a lot of works over many decades and many of these are very good. They have gone in and out of fashion and in and out of the classical recorded catalogue. In many ways he's quite an an old-fashioned composer--the centre of the Sydney music scene a lot of his works are written for live performances and various musical occasions and he has a life more like Haydn than most modern composers. If you look at what's available of his on CD you'll find the orchestral pieces (Earth Cry, Kakadu, Piano Concert, Sun Music, Irkanda &c &c, and then a whole lot of pieces for piano, choir and other instrumental groups scattered in ones and twos over dozens of CDs which are of music by multiple composers). If he had written only symphonies, or only string quartets, then people would have more of an idea of the range and scale of his work.

I pretty much like everything he's written, but one disk stands out, it's the Tall Poppies Volume 3 of the String Quartets (Nos 14, 15, 16, 17). These are just great music, as good as anything in music, they're in the league of the Bartok, Shostakovitch, Tippett, Simpson string quartets. If you can get this one Sculthorpe disk you'll understand what a great composer he is.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Madiel on May 09, 2012, 05:13:40 AM
OOH, two Canberrans posting in succession! What are the chances?  ;D

Funny thing is, even though I'm well aware of Sculthorpe's reputation and even though I've been to a TALK by him at some point in the past, I can't say I know very much of his music at all.

The only thing I've ever known well was the piano piece "Mountains" which I learnt and certainly enjoyed - and yet, just now I had to go pull it out of the music collection because I didn't recall the name.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 06:56:42 AM
As an Aussie I have to say Sculthorpe is an inescapable part of the Australian music scene, and deservedly so. He has written a lot of works over many decades and many of these are very good. They have gone in and out of fashion and in and out of the classical recorded catalogue. In many ways he's quite an an old-fashioned composer--the centre of the Sydney music scene a lot of his works are written for live performances and various musical occasions and he has a life more like Haydn than most modern composers. If you look at what's available of his on CD you'll find the orchestral pieces (Earth Cry, Kakadu, Piano Concert, Sun Music, Irkanda &c &c, and then a whole lot of pieces for piano, choir and other instrumental groups scattered in ones and twos over dozens of CDs which are of music by multiple composers). If he had written only symphonies, or only string quartets, then people would have more of an idea of the range and scale of his work.

I pretty much like everything he's written, but one disk stands out, it's the Tall Poppies Volume 3 of the String Quartets (Nos 14, 15, 16, 17). These are just great music, as good as anything in music, they're in the league of the Bartok, Shostakovitch, Tippett, Simpson string quartets. If you can get this one Sculthorpe disk you'll understand what a great composer he is.

One of the things I admire about Sculthorpe is the fact he didn't write any symphonies or ever felt the need to. I mean this medium has been exhausted IMHO and I'm sure Sculthorpe has purposely avoided it because he knew there was nothing he could say that hasn't been said already. What he has done instead is create worlds of orchestral brilliance and color by making the music he wanted to make and that isn't constricted to classical forms. In fact, I think, even though he respects the old masters, he felt he had to forge his own path which I think he's done. He's the only Australian composer I can think of whose music actually evokes the country's landscape. His music is descriptive and it really sounds like no one else. One work I've been really enamored with lately is his Piano Concerto. What a beautiful, haunting work.

I'm ashamed to say I haven't heard any of his SQs, but I'm not a big fan of the genre anyway, but I would like to hear his String Quartet No. 8 which seems to have been recorded a few times.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: springrite on May 09, 2012, 07:05:59 AM
(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/Sculthorpe_Earth_Cry.jpg)
 
This came in the mail today and just finished listening to it. What a smoking performance! Man somebody needs to hose this CD off!  8)

Just listened to this baby and it is very good indeed! Considering how I did not like Antill, etc., I wasn't expecting much. But I really like it!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 09, 2012, 07:13:38 AM
. . . I mean this medium [the symphony] has been exhausted IMHO . . . .

What an extraordinary remark, even as an opinion.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 07:22:41 AM
Just listened to this baby and it is very good indeed! Considering how I did not like Antill, etc., I wasn't expecting much. But I really like it!

Yeah, that's a GREAT recording, Paul! Antill is nothing like Sculthorpe. The two composers couldn't be any different from each other. Almost like night and day really. I like every work on that recording.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: springrite on May 09, 2012, 07:27:00 AM
What an extraordinary remark, even as an opinion.

Well, at least he didn't day the medium of classical music has been exhausted. Hehee...

Agree that is a rather ... uh ... remark... especially considering the dude does listen to quite a bit of fairly new music.

But I know what you mean, John. But the same opinion was aired a hundred years ago and aren't we glad they were wrong?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 07:34:37 AM
Well, at least he didn't say the medium of classical music has been exhausted. Hehee...

Agree that is a rather ... uh ... remark... especially considering the dude does listen to quite a bit of fairly new music.

But I know what you mean, John. But the same opinion was aired a hundred years ago and aren't we glad they were wrong?

Yeah, but I don't hear a lot of composers taking up the symphony. I mean Carl Vine is still writing symphonies. MacMillan has written a few, but it seems like not many composers want to write symphonies. My point really had more to do with Sculthorpe and how he had to create his own unique sound which meant letting go of classical forms, but interestingly enough he did still hang onto the string quartet and has composed 18 (?) of them now.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: springrite on May 09, 2012, 07:48:06 AM
Dude, that would be rad. The world can never have too many symphonies.  :)

But it already has too many fanfares and odes. ;D
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 07:51:28 AM
edited Let's back to Sculthorpe. Paul, what did you think of Earth Cry?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 07:54:26 AM
If any learners of the English language wants clarification of the difference between the word cry and weep, now they know.

So you liked it?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: springrite on May 09, 2012, 07:55:36 AM
So you liked it?

Yes, sir!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 07:58:29 AM
Yes, sir!

As a former percussionist, Earth Cry sounds like it would be really fun to perform.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 09, 2012, 08:22:02 AM
My whole point is that composers today just don't seem like they're attracted to the symphonic form. There's a reason why composers don't feel compelled to write symphonies and there can only be two reasons why: 1. they feel they have nothing they could add to the tradition or 2. they simply just don't want to write one because they're not attracted to the genre.

But your remark that "composers don't feel compelled to write symphonies" is an error, John; James Levine & the BSO commissioned Wuorinen's Eighth Symphony and played it in 2006.

Personally, I do feel drawn to the genre, and I am keen to see if I may, indeed, have something to add.

You might have said the same thing about the choral Passion, John, a piece which I wrote, perfectly well convinced that I had something to add.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Leon on May 09, 2012, 10:48:59 AM
I had no idea that a thread devoted to a composer I've never heard of could have sparked such a lively discussion!

 :D

I guess it's time I Spotified him.

 :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 11:19:38 AM
One of the things I love about Sculthorpe's music is it's sense of narrative. He always seems to have a story of some kind to tell. This is even true with his concertante works like the Piano Concerto, Cello Dreaming, and Nourlangie. This aspect of his music keeps me coming back because depending on whether I'm ready for the music or not doesn't really matter because the story seems like it's always different and I'm always finding something new that I hadn't quite heard previously.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on May 09, 2012, 05:07:39 PM
So program music beats classical forms? It's Liszt's "New Music" movement all over again!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 05:10:20 PM
Glad to see this thread back! :D Now back to Sculthorpe's Piano Concerto, what do you guys think about it?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 09, 2012, 05:17:21 PM
One of the things I admire about Sculthorpe is the fact he didn't write any symphonies or ever felt the need to. I mean this medium has been exhausted IMHO and I'm sure Sculthorpe has purposely avoided it because he knew there was nothing he could say that hasn't been said already.

Well rumour has it that Sculthorpe has been commissioned to write a symphony to be premiered in 2015 on anniversary of Gallipolli. Who knows, perhaps after this he will start a series of symphonies in old age, like Havergal Brian!
Title: Re: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 09, 2012, 05:17:42 PM
So program music beats classical forms? It's Liszt's "New Music" movement all over again!

Good catch!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2012, 05:42:37 PM
Well rumour has it that Sculthorpe has been commissioned to write a symphony to be premiered in 2015 on anniversary of Gallipolli. Who knows, perhaps after this he will start a series of symphonies in old age, like Havergal Brian!

Wouldn't that be something? :) You have to remember that Sculthorpe is 84 years old right now. I do hope he composes some symphonies. That would be great!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on May 10, 2012, 04:25:07 AM
Sculthorpe is more of a tone poem composer, and I doubt he will ever write a symphony in the traditional sense. He is sort of the Strauss of our day in Australia, maybe. I think he will just crank out another large tone poem (maybe multi movement) without calling it 'symphony' (unless he appends another title to the name 'symphony', like Strauss's Sinfonia Domestica).

Glad to see this thread back! :D Now back to Sculthorpe's Piano Concerto, what do you guys think about it?

His piano concerto is one of my favorites, but it is one of those pieces that needs a convincing recording. I feel like I have said this before. I've heard just about all of the commercial recordings, and they all lack something. The one on Naxos is perhaps the best one I have heard. Anyways, the actual piece is something rather unique in the concerto literature, in that it is difficult, but not virtuosic in the traditional sense. I really enjoy concertos in that mold, personally.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2012, 05:59:28 AM
Sculthorpe is more of a tone poem composer, and I doubt he will ever write a symphony in the traditional sense. He is sort of the Strauss of our day in Australia, maybe. I think he will just crank out another large tone poem (maybe multi movement) without calling it 'symphony' (unless he appends another title to the name 'symphony', like Strauss's Sinfonia Domestica).

His piano concerto is one of my favorites, but it is one of those pieces that needs a convincing recording. I feel like I have said this before. I've heard just about all of the commercial recordings, and they all lack something. The one on Naxos is perhaps the best one I have heard. Anyways, the actual piece is something rather unique in the concerto literature, in that it is difficult, but not virtuosic in the traditional sense. I really enjoy concertos in that mold, personally.

Would you say that Sculthorpe's Piano Concerto is more rhapsodic than an actual showpiece for the piano? I've never felt like any of the Sculthorpe concertante works were a showcase for the solo instrument but rather an integrated part of the orchestra. Again, there's a narrative to the music that I find personally refreshing. I only own the Naxos recording of the PC, but I'm quite satisfied with the performance as a whole.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on May 10, 2012, 09:27:55 AM
The piano concerto's piano part doesn't seem integrated into the orchestra, to me. The orchestra functions pretty well as an accompaniment, and the piano part is very idiomatic and unmistakeably soloistic. It doesn't seem like a showpiece at all, though. The piece seems more interested in making a musical point rather than just being virtuosic. Within Sculthorpe's language, it seems almost impossible for him to write a virtuosic showpiece in the Romantic, perhaps Rachmaninoff or Liszt-like way.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2012, 05:51:15 PM
Within Sculthorpe's language, it seems almost impossible for him to write a virtuosic showpiece in the Romantic, perhaps Rachmaninoff or Liszt-like way.

A composer doesn't need to write in a Romantic language in order to be virtuosic. Look at the difficulties of the Ligeti or even Lindberg PCs.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on May 10, 2012, 08:46:20 PM
A composer doesn't need to write in a Romantic language in order to be virtuosic. Look at the difficulties of the Ligeti or even Lindberg PCs.

Oh, I know that quite well, but I simply threw out those names for extremes of comparison. Still, I don't think that Sculthorpe is able to write a piece that can be called a 'truly virtuosic showpiece concerto' or whatever you want to call it. Nourlangie, Cello Dreaming, Irkanda IV, the Piano Concerto, etc are all very low key, meditative works that have very difficult parts, but can't be called virtuoso works in the traditional sense.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2012, 08:52:38 PM
Oh, I know that quite well, but I simply threw out those names for extremes of comparison. Still, I don't think that Sculthorpe is able to write a piece that can be called a 'truly virtuosic showpiece concerto' or whatever you want to call it. Nourlangie, Cello Dreaming, Irkanda IV, the Piano Concerto, etc are all very low key, meditative works that have very difficult parts, but can't be called virtuoso works in the traditional sense.

I understand. I'd love to learn Nourlangie. I'm a guitarist.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on May 10, 2012, 09:28:58 PM
Funny you should say that because I've seriously considered learning and performing Sculthorpe's piano concerto, even if it were to just be for a two piano reduction. Sculthorpe's music needs more attention here in the States. I might just learn the Night Pieces and/or Mountains.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 11, 2012, 05:45:54 AM
Funny you should say that because I've seriously considered learning and performing Sculthorpe's piano concerto, even if it were to just be for a two piano reduction. Sculthorpe's music needs more attention here in the States. I might just learn the Night Pieces and/or Mountains.

If I was a pianist studying classical performance, Sculthorpe's PC would be one of the first on my list to learn. I would also learn and master Tippett's, Schuman's, Rodrigo's (I really like this his PC a lot), VL's Choros No. 11, both of Ravel's, all of Prokofiev's, and all of Martinu's. I would probably learn Bartok's as well.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Montpellier on May 11, 2012, 11:46:13 AM
Great fan of Peter Sculthorpe. My first encounter was with some privately recorded material - probably from the radio. I transferred them to CD. The programme offered:

Sun Music I
Mangrove
Port Essington.


Interspersed were works by Meale:
Clouds Now and Then
Viridian
and Conyngham:
Crisis - Thoughts in a City.

Around the same time I came upon an EMI (Australia) LP of Sun Music I - IV.


They caught me - perhaps because I was vulnerable to symbolist music at the time. It was almost too easy to get lost in these works and I started collecting recordings from that point. The Sun Music series was eventually reissued on CD by ABC as any fan will know.

Unnecessary to add any comment that would just repeat what Mirror Image and Sid have said.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 11, 2012, 06:12:12 PM
Great fan of Peter Sculthorpe. My first encounter was with some privately recorded material - probably from the radio. I transferred them to CD. The programme offered:

Sun Music I
Mangrove
Port Essington.


Interspersed were works by Meale:
Clouds Now and Then
Viridian
and Conyngham:
Crisis - Thoughts in a City.

Around the same time I came upon an EMI (Australia) LP of Sun Music I - IV.


They caught me - perhaps because I was vulnerable to symbolist music at the time. It was almost too easy to get lost in these works and I started collecting recordings from that point. The Sun Music series was eventually reissued on CD by ABC as any fan will know.

Unnecessary to add any comment that would just repeat what Mirror Image and Sid have said.

Hello Montpellier! I don't know if we've spoken before on here, if not, then allow me to extend a nice to meet you in your direction. :) Sculthorpe's Sun Music are some fascinating works for sure. I only have one recording of them and it's that reissue you speak of on ABC Classics. I'm still waiting on the Requiem recording to arrive and I'm chomping at the bit to hear it and some of the orchestral works on the other disc that I haven't heard like My Country Childhood and Great Sandy Island. What are your impressions of the Requiem? Did you enjoy it?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Montpellier on May 13, 2012, 10:26:03 AM
Likewise, my pleasure to say hello again.     :)

The Requiem? It's (recent) Sculthorpe all right. I found it a striking work. The first time I played it I’d never have guessed Sculthorpe from the opening. It reminding me of a hymn from Quo Vadis. Of course, it was nothing like that at all once I rechecked. But the preface to the Kyrie…there was no more doubt: a long solo for didjeridu. There’s a fair bit of bravura didjeridu playing throughout the work. I can’t know how others feel about that but it's what he wanted to write and doesn’t seem out of place at all - perhaps because there are passages for it solo as well as blended with the orchestra and chorus. 

So I enjoy it and admire his motives for writing it. But I can’t think of anything of his I've had trouble with. The Piano Concerto gave me problems but it took familiarity. He’s come a long way since Irkanda I and the Sun Music series. Come to think of it I probably have a bit of catching up to do on his later work and was wondering about volume 3 of the String Quartets?  And I'd be most interested to hear of your impression of the Requiem.

Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2012, 03:47:16 PM
Likewise, my pleasure to say hello again.     :)

The Requiem? It's (recent) Sculthorpe all right. I found it a striking work. The first time I played it I’d never have guessed Sculthorpe from the opening. It reminding me of a hymn from Quo Vadis. Of course, it was nothing like that at all once I rechecked. But the preface to the Kyrie…there was no more doubt: a long solo for didjeridu. There’s a fair bit of bravura didjeridu playing throughout the work. I can’t know how others feel about that but it's what he wanted to write and doesn’t seem out of place at all - perhaps because there are passages for it solo as well as blended with the orchestra and chorus. 

So I enjoy it and admire his motives for writing it. But I can’t think of anything of his I've had trouble with. The Piano Concerto gave me problems but it took familiarity. He’s come a long way since Irkanda I and the Sun Music series. Come to think of it I probably have a bit of catching up to do on his later work and was wondering about volume 3 of the String Quartets?  And I'd be most interested to hear of your impression of the Requiem.

Excellent, thanks for your feedback. 8) I'm even more anxious to hear the Requiem now. I'll probably listen to it later on tonight.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Montpellier on May 14, 2012, 01:11:35 AM
Here's hoping you enjoy it.  ;)

I was prompted to have another listen last night. Track 4 (Sequnce) seems to reach back to the opening of Port Essington; track 5 takes in some of Sculthorpe's orchestral effects on the strings. 

 :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2012, 07:10:52 AM
Here's hoping you enjoy it.  ;)

I was prompted to have another listen last night. Track 4 (Sequnce) seems to reach back to the opening of Port Essington; track 5 takes in some of Sculthorpe's orchestral effects on the strings. 

 :)

Okay, so Montpellier. I finished the Requiem this morning and I enjoyed it very much. I've never heard a work where Sculthorpe employed any kind of vocals, so this came as a bit of a surprise to find out that he wrote such great choral parts. I mentioned in the listening thread that the first movement reminded me of Lindberg's Graffiti, especially the pacing of the music and the harmonic language. I thought the didjeridu was very well integrated into the orchestral texture, but I also thought it wasn't overused and was done rather tastefully. I liked the whole work, but I know I'll need to hear it again to pick up on all of the nuances in it. Very nice work.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: eyeresist on May 14, 2012, 04:36:32 PM
didjeridu

?

I think "didgeridoo" is the most common spelling.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2012, 04:50:03 PM
?

I think "didgeridoo" is the most common spelling.

Both spellings are considered correct. Nice try though. :D
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on April 21, 2013, 07:40:06 PM
When I think of Sculthorpe, besides the great music, I'm reminded of my friend Sid who used to frequent this forum. Wherever you are buddy, I hope all is well with you.

Anyway, since we're approaching Sculthorpe's 84th birthday (April 29th), I figured I would spend the days leading up to his birthday listening to a selection of his music from my collection.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: snyprrr on April 22, 2013, 05:41:19 AM
Is there a 'THE' Sculthorpe work to get in on? All I've heard is a couple of SQs that...mm... well,... ok...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on April 22, 2013, 05:54:33 AM
Is there a 'THE' Sculthorpe work to get in on? All I've heard is a couple of SQs that...mm... well,... ok...

Definitely give the Piano Concerto, Mangrove, Kakadu, Earth Cry, Memento mori, and Sun Music a listen. Usually his music that deals with the desolate Australian landscapes are his best works IMHO.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 22, 2013, 11:34:42 AM
snyprr, keep on listening to the SQs.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on April 22, 2013, 05:27:38 PM
Just when you think tonality has been exhausted, someone like Sculthorpe comes along and shreds that foolish notion to pieces. Revisited his Piano Concerto earlier today and it still impresses the hell out of me. Some say it's too long and blah, blah, blah, but I say it's one of most brilliant piano concerti written in the late 20th Century. The biggest disadvantage Sculthorpe has in classical music is being Australian and what I mean is that our classical audiences (God help them) are so Euro-centric. They seem like they're just stuck on one continent and that's it. Australia, like Japan, Latin America, Canada, among others offer so many riches that it's just unbelievable and overwhelming.

Anyway, Sculthorpe deserves more Western exposure that's for sure. He's certainly a composer of the first rank.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: lescamil on April 22, 2013, 06:47:46 PM
Just when you think tonality has been exhausted, someone like Sculthorpe comes along and shreds that foolish notion to pieces. Revisited his Piano Concerto earlier today and it still impresses the hell out of me. Some say it's too long and blah, blah, blah, but I say it's one of most brilliant piano concerti written in the late 20th Century. The biggest disadvantage Sculthorpe has in classical music is being Australian and what I mean is that our classical audiences (God help them) are so Euro-centric. They seem like they're just stuck on one continent and that's it. Australia, like Japan, Latin America, Canada, among others offer so many riches that it's just unbelievable and overwhelming.

Anyway, Sculthorpe deserves more Western exposure that's for sure. He's certainly a composer of the first rank.

Couldn't agree more with your assessment of the Piano Concerto. It really should be one of the more important piano concertos in recent repertoire. It is not the most virtuosic concerto, nor the most difficult, but it has a ton of music and a ton of variety.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on April 22, 2013, 06:53:12 PM
Couldn't agree more with your assessment of the Piano Concerto. It really should be one of the more important piano concertos in recent repertoire. It is not the most virtuosic concerto, nor the most difficult, but it has a ton of music and a ton of variety.

+1

One of the most interesting things for me about Sculthorpe's Piano Concerto is the fact that it creates a musical narrative and it ISN'T a piece to showcase the soloist. It does contain some seemingly difficult passages, but the piano is the voice telling the story.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: snyprrr on April 23, 2013, 06:22:22 AM
Definitely give the Piano Concerto, Mangrove, Kakadu, Earth Cry, Memento mori, and Sun Music a listen. Usually his music that deals with the desolate Australian landscapes are his best works IMHO.


snyprr, keep on listening to the SQs.

check check
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2013, 05:20:03 PM
It seems that I continue to find myself hitting these Sculthorpe phases and the last one I had was in April. I wonder if snyprrr has listened to any more of his music?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: snyprrr on July 24, 2013, 05:50:03 AM
It seems that I continue to find myself hitting these Sculthorpe phases and the last one I had was in April. I wonder if snyprrr has listened to any more of his music?

sorry, no closer than before,... The Ventures got in the way!! :P My buying days have done vacay!!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on July 27, 2013, 05:28:49 AM
sorry, no closer than before,... The Ventures got in the way!! :P My buying days have done vacay!!

Damn, well maybe you could make some sidesteps (or missteps however you view them) in the direction of Sculthorpe at some juncture. He is the finest composer to come from Australia and has one of the most distinctive voices in 20th/21st Century music.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: vandermolen on July 29, 2013, 03:07:16 AM
Apologies if this has been mentioned already (possibly by me :))as I don't have time to track back through all the messages. Just a plug for Sculthorpe's 'Memento Mori' (on a Naxos CD). A wonderfully haunting, atmospheric work based on the Dies irate theme. Rather in the spirit of Arvo Part's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2013, 03:01:35 PM
Apologies if this has been mentioned already (possibly by me :))as I don't have time to track back through all the messages. Just a plug for Sculthorpe's 'Memento Mori' (on a Naxos CD). A wonderfully haunting, atmospheric work based on the Dies irate theme. Rather in the spirit of Arvo Part's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.

Yes, Jeffrey. A fine work indeed. There's another performance on an ABC Classics recording with Stuart Challender conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. This recording also contains scorching performances of Earth Cry, Kakadu, and Mangrove.

What are some of your other favorite Sculthorpe works, Jeffrey?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: vandermolen on July 29, 2013, 10:50:06 PM
I only have the Naxos CD John, of which Memento Mori is my favourite work. Having said that I think that I may have a CD with Sculthorpe's Requiem.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2013, 07:16:40 PM
It's sad to see this thread fade into GMG oblivion. :( For me, Sculthorpe is a true master and knows how to effectively weave the colors and flavors of his his homeland, which in this case would actually be Tasmania, into an exotic sonic landscape. I can't recall any composer, from Australia, who has achieved the kind of status Sculthorpe has had in the last 30-40 years. I do hope he is continuing to compose and that ABC Classics continues their Sculthorpe series.

I would like Kyle to chime in here, because I know he has a few of these ABC recordings in his collection at least. :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 08:00:42 AM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

Just bought some Sculthorpe I was lacking:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00007JR5Y.01.L.jpg) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00000DGJ8.01.L.jpg)

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0002/865/MI0002865115.jpg?partner=allrovi.com) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000GDH91Y.01.L.jpg)

I'm really looking forward to hearing these. Does anyone here know these recordings? Would be interested in some feedback. I read some reviews from MusicWeb, but would like to hear what GMGers think.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 08:13:11 AM
I only have the Naxos CD John, of which Memento Mori is my favourite work. Having said that I think that I may have a CD with Sculthorpe's Requiem.

The Requiem recording has a second disc of course of several other orchestral works. Several of these works such as My Country Childhood, Great Sandy Island, New Morcia, and an arrangement of Quamby for chamber orchestra receive world premiere recordings. Definitely check these out if you haven't already, Jeffrey.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: The new erato on December 23, 2013, 08:27:14 AM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

I'm really looking forward to hearing these. Does anyone here know these recordings?
I have the quartet discs. Typical Sculthorpe. Athmospheric and evocative. Fine discs.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 08:29:34 AM
I have the quartet discs. Typical Sculthorpe. Athmospheric and evocative. Fine discs.

Excellent! 8)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 10:30:40 AM
Here's a beautiful arrangement of Night Pieces for solo harp for those interested:

http://www.youtube.com/v/0BNs9q9ff7I
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 01:19:29 PM
I just found this fantastic brochure from Faber Music and it lists all of Sculthorpe's music. Very useful for anyone here interested in getting to know the composer's oeuvre:

http://www.fabermusic.com/resources/pdfs/19-brochure.pdf
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 07, 2014, 10:14:17 PM
Australian media are just reporting the death of Peter Sculthorpe.

A great composer, and a great Australian.

Let's hope more of his music is performed and recorded now, which would be the best tribute.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: The new erato on August 07, 2014, 10:35:57 PM
Australian media are just reporting the death of Peter Sculthorpe.

A great composer, and a great Australian.

Let's hope more of his music is performed and recorded now, which would be the best tribute.
Indeed. R I P.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: vandermolen on August 08, 2014, 04:37:40 AM
Very sorry to hear this. Was pleased that BBC Radio 4 (not the classical station) paid tribute to him in the main 1.00 o'clock News just now and played a short extract from his music and mentioned a tribute to Sculthorpe from Tony Abbott the Austalian PM.

Just played the beautiful and sadly appropriate today Memento Mori (Naxos) in tribute.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Brewski on August 08, 2014, 05:18:52 AM
Yes, very sad. He might have been the first Australian composer I got to know, through the Kronos Quartet recording below, and then those with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. BBC obit:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28705318



--Bruce
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Madiel on August 08, 2014, 06:11:11 AM
Australian media are just reporting the death of Peter Sculthorpe.

A great composer, and a great Australian.

Let's hope more of his music is performed and recorded now, which would be the best tribute.

What?! I missed this completely.

And I was just listening to one of his works tonight by sheer coincidence. It's the only recording I own (Cello Dreaming) and it was on a local CD that I only recently unearthed from a forgotten corner.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 08, 2014, 01:39:52 PM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-08/tasmanian-composer-peter-sculthorpe-dies/5484044
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - )
Post by: Mirror Image on August 10, 2014, 01:59:56 PM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-08/tasmanian-composer-peter-sculthorpe-dies/5484044

Oh no! This is terrible news. Such an immense talent. It seems that when a composer passes, their music becomes much more known, I really hope this is the case for Sculthorpe. RIP
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 13, 2014, 06:19:54 PM
I've been listening to quite a bit of Sculthorpe this week, and have been enjoying it all. In particular the later string quartets 14-17 seem utterly sublime to me.

Looking at the composer's website it seems there is quite a bit that hasn't been recorded. He wrote an 18th SQ which hasn't been recorded, though it has been played a bit. (SQ 12 (From Ubirr) is a version of Earth Cry and like that exists in two versions, with or without dij, also hasn't been recorded, but there is a YouTube performance (without dij).

There are also String Sonatas 3-5 which are unrecorded (YouTube performance of 3).

We could also do with some recordings of his larger works, such as the opera Rites of Passage, and his music for a TV programme Quiros.

Let's hope for a burst of recording before the usual neglect sets in.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Brian on September 08, 2014, 09:46:23 AM
"He began piano lessons at 7 and started composing shortly afterward. His piano teacher, he recalled later, was not pleased: She informed him that all the composers were dead and caned him across the knuckles."
- the NY Times obituary (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/arts/international/peter-sculthorpe-composer-steeped-in-australias-sounds-dies-at-85.html)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 08, 2014, 10:02:03 AM
I still get the "all the proper composers died out long ago" wheeze, now and again.

Never a caning, though;  I allow that.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 08, 2014, 04:57:32 PM
"He began piano lessons at 7 and started composing shortly afterward. His piano teacher, he recalled later, was not pleased: She informed him that all the composers were dead and caned him across the knuckles."
- the NY Times obituary (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/arts/international/peter-sculthorpe-composer-steeped-in-australias-sounds-dies-at-85.html)

I've heard this quote many times before. Peter Sculthorpe is one of my absolute favorite composers. I believe his music was a genuine extension of who he was as a human being. It's so interesting to chronicle his music from the experimental, abrasive Sun Music I-IV to the free-flowing, almost minimal soundscape of Memento mori. He seemed to be a composer who was constantly pushing himself into new directions even until his passing. I'm forever grateful for this man's existence and how much of a blessing his music was for so many of us.

For those who haven't bothered exploring Sculthorpe's music, my only question is what are you waiting for? You're truly missing out. He didn't become one of Australia's most influential composer by composing 'pretty little ditties'. :) His music has substance and I urge anyone interested in 20th Century music to give him a chance.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on November 25, 2014, 06:44:44 PM
ABC Classics have recently released a 2 CD set of Sculthorpe's solo piano music that contains more pieces than the 1990s Tall Poppies disk.

https://shop.abc.net.au/products/sculthorpe-complete-works-solo-piano-2cd

I don't know what the cheapest way to buy it is for those not in Oz, but remember when you look at the price that $1 Aus is 85c US.

The ABC just got its budget cut hugely by our wonderful government so it could do with some sales.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on November 28, 2014, 12:14:02 AM
I've listened to these disks now and his piano music is very good, it doesn't sound like much to begin with, but after a while something of real substance and power emerges quietly (bit like australian landscapes)  :)

The last work on the disks (and chronologically) is a substantial suite entitled Riverina, depicting the landscape and history of central southern New South Wales around Wagga Wagga. It's a very very moving final work of his.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 02, 2015, 12:24:14 PM
And I've just found out that a 2 Cd set including his previously unrecorded last String Quartet (No.18) was released just before the composer's death last year.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/718CcJJ%2BhzL._SY550_.jpg)

I won't overload the thread with superlatives, but suffice it to say no-one should be disappointed in this quartet.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: snyprrr on January 03, 2015, 09:22:36 AM
And I've just found out that a 2 Cd set including his previously unrecorded last String Quartet (No.18) was released just before the composer's death last year.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/718CcJJ%2BhzL._SY550_.jpg)

I won't overload the thread with superlatives, but suffice it to say no-one should be disappointed in this quartet.

errrr.... 'The Complete SQs with digidooo'???????????.... really????????....the Del Sol are a very adventurous group... check out their album 'Ring of Fire'...
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 09:25:22 AM
And I've just found out that a 2 Cd set including his previously unrecorded last String Quartet (No.18) was released just before the composer's death last year.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/718CcJJ%2BhzL._SY550_.jpg)

I won't overload the thread with superlatives, but suffice it to say no-one should be disappointed in this quartet.

I've definitely have had my eye on this set along with the solo piano music.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 03, 2015, 11:54:51 AM
errrr.... 'The Complete SQs with digidooo'???????????.... really????????....the Del Sol are a very adventurous group... check out their album 'Ring of Fire'...

Got something against didgeridoos ;D

Seriously Sculthorpe has been a pioneer on incorporating the instrument into different ensembles and the orchestra in the works since the 60s. His method of composition allows for the reuse and re-composition of material from different pieces in other works, and the composition of different versions of the same piece for different forces. I don't doubt there is a version for pure string quartet of 18 (and the others), but on this recording to you can enjoy this version (didgeridoo quartet or quintet with two cellos one played by the didg, or however you want to think about it.)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: The new erato on January 08, 2015, 12:00:52 AM
I need to bring to your attention the "Outstanding" classification of the new Sono Luminus disc of string quartets with didgeridoo, which also for a 2 CD set with an additional Blue-Ray audio disc is ridiculously cheap (at least on prestoclassical where I just ordered it.)

http://recordreview.co.uk/outstanding.php (http://recordreview.co.uk/outstanding.php)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on February 20, 2015, 01:58:19 PM
This looks promising too

https://shop.abc.net.au/products/peter-sculthorpe-abc-recordings-10cd-1dvd

(Sorry, can't get the image url to work).

My only reservation is the DVD entitled "the String Quartets", I am investigating whether it is actually has performances of the SQs or is a documentary with excerpts.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on February 22, 2015, 07:45:18 PM
Yep the DVD is only a documentary with excerpts. Still, this boxed set would be good value for another who doesn't have many discs of PS's music.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 24, 2015, 11:42:16 PM
I have just been watching Sculthorpe’s opera for television, Quiros (1982).

The opera deals with the life of the Spanish/Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernández de Quirós (1565–1614), who in two expeditions never quite managed to get to Australia, despite wanting to, and who died whilst trying to organise a third expedition.

I would describe the opera as a masterpiece, it’s about 1 hour and 5 minutes long, very well structured, with various ensembles, choruses, set-piece ‘arias’ and so forth (and some rhythmic speech). The libretto is good (never thought I’d write that about an opera) and of course the score is fantastic, and any fans of Sculthorpe will immediately recognise various characteristic textures, rhythms and themes. (The music is played by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Myer Fredman).

The piece was filmed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1982, and is an astonishingly well-produced production, with good costumes and good acting. The ABC has had no money for the last 20 years and has become so low-brow it is almost blind. It’s impossible to imagine the ABC producing anything like this nowadays (‘anyone for more Downton Abbey?’)

The source is a videotape of the TV broadcast from the time, the picture quality is not great, but the sound is surprisingly good. I got it from

www.operapassion.com (searching for ‘Quiros’)

There’s a DVD and a download, I’d go for the download because when I ordered the DVD it arrived and I started playing it and it turned out to be Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades. I complained and they told me that Quiros was actually on the disk, after the Tchaikovsky (no, I don’t understand either).
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 02, 2015, 12:42:31 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

Just bought:

(http://www.tvmem.com/OZST/ffilms/B-FFILM/B-PICS/BURKE&WI.jpg) (http://www.amydickson.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Island-Songs-Amy.png)

I never heard this film work by Sculthorpe and his Island Songs for saxophone and orchestra is also a completely new work for me. Oh, and Amy Dickson is quite easy on the eyes. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/v/46VWPIi_gP0
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 15, 2016, 06:32:19 PM
It's been almost another year since the last post and I'm glad that I can continue to promote Sculthorpe's music here on GMG. He really is a great composer with a unique sound-world that's entirely his own. I love the new Sculthorpe poll that Jessop (ComposerOfTheAvantGarde) created. His enthusiasm for this music I hope will catch on as I've been beating members here over the head with my non-stop, ongoing blather about this music for the past six years now and it hasn't helped anything. :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 15, 2016, 06:43:37 PM
Sun Music I to IV highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 15, 2016, 06:54:24 PM
Wonderful painting of the aussie legend

(http://www.portrait.gov.au/files/d/d/9/a/i6326.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 16, 2016, 04:12:48 AM
Wonderful painting of the aussie legend

(http://www.portrait.gov.au/files/d/d/9/a/i6326.jpg)

Indeed. A great painting and one that truly reflects Sculthorpe (according to his own thoughts):

https://www.youtube.com/v/ysascrWdeGo
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 16, 2016, 02:28:17 PM
Check out this performance of Kakadu with an additional introductory section! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhXoYfFX6ZA)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 16, 2016, 05:57:32 PM
Check out this performance of Kakadu with an additional introductory section! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhXoYfFX6ZA)

I didn't like it, Jessop. In all honesty, I'm not a fan of the didgeridoo. I thought he incorporated the instrument beautifully into his Requiem, but hearing it in Kakadu sounded tacked on to me. Plus, he didn't originally write this work with the instrument in mind anyway. I think only later (perhaps after he met William Barton) that he added it to the piece as an optional added-on instrument.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 16, 2016, 06:56:08 PM
I didn't like it, Jessop. In all honesty, I'm not a fan of the didgeridoo. I thought he incorporated the instrument beautifully into his Requiem, but hearing it in Kakadu sounded tacked on to me. Plus, he didn't originally write this work with the instrument in mind anyway. I think only later (perhaps after he met William Barton) that he added it to the piece as an optional added-on instrument.


Oh well. Kakadu as a piece of music seems much closer to the kinds of things he was doing in the 60s and 70s than what he was doing later on, especially witu Earth Cry where he used didjeridu extensively.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 16, 2016, 07:50:08 PM


Oh well. Kakadu as a piece of music seems much closer to the kinds of things he was doing in the 60s and 70s than what he was doing later on, especially witu Earth Cry where he used didjeridu extensively.

Yeah, I just don't think much of the instrument, but, as I mentioned, I liked the way he incorporated it into his Requiem. Btw, have you heard this work yet?
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 16, 2016, 09:41:58 PM
Yeah, I just don't think much of the instrument, but, as I mentioned, I liked the way he incorporated it into his Requiem. Btw, have you heard this work yet?
I have heard the requiem, but only once and it was a while ago. It didn't make a lasting impression on me.....so I better hear it again some day.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 17, 2016, 06:36:30 PM
I have heard the requiem, but only once and it was a while ago. It didn't make a lasting impression on me.....so I better hear it again some day.

Yeah, it's not as memorable as many of his other works. I need to revisit it myself.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2019, 06:33:57 AM
For anyone interested, I can’t imagine it would be that many, I created a page for Sculthorpe and a discussion group dedicated to his music on Facebook. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/372976873313113/

Please feel free to post anything related to Sculthorpe that you wish there. I’m trying to get this thing up and running. To my knowledge, this is the only group dedicated to this composer’s music on Facebook or anywhere. So please help me spread the good word about the composer and invite all of your friends.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: foxandpeng on August 25, 2021, 02:22:49 AM
Pulled from the WAYLT thread.

Kronos Quartet 25 Years
Peter Sculthorpe SQs 11 'Jabiru Dreaming', 8, 12 'From Ubirr'
Kronos Quartet


Wow. These Peter Sculthorpe SQs sound great here. Grabbed me straight from the gate. What powerful works! Particularly 11 and 12. The addition of the dijeridoo is superb, in my opinion. I really need to explore his SQs in more detail. Honestly that good, IMO.

My only criticism is their inability to spell Sculthorpe's surname correctly, and the lack of metadata on Spotify. There are recordings here of Gubaidulina and Glass that I would have missed through lax tagging.

Where has Sculthorpe been hiding all this time? I suggest nowhere, but I am really glad to have found him. Brilliant!

For anyone interested, I can’t imagine it would be that many, I created a page for Sculthorpe and a discussion group dedicated to his music on Facebook. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/372976873313113/

Please feel free to post anything related to Sculthorpe that you wish there. I’m trying to get this thing up and running. To my knowledge, this is the only group dedicated to this composer’s music on Facebook or anywhere. So please help me spread the good word about the composer and invite all of your friends.

*goes off to find and join the Facebook group*

Edit: Has this been deleted, MI? Can't see it... :(
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 05:19:28 AM
Pulled from the WAYLT thread.

Where has Sculthorpe been hiding all this time? I suggest nowhere, but I am really glad to have found him. Brilliant!

*goes off to find and join the Facebook group*

Edit: Has this been deleted, MI? Can't see it... :(

Yeah, foxandpeng, I deleted the Sculthorpe group as there just wasn’t any activity happening in it and I ended up not really feeling like maintaining it. It’s good that you’re getting into his music, though. He was one of the most outstanding composers I know from Australia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get much attention here on GMG. But, it’s not a problem, I’m glad to see you listening to his SQs, which are some of his most important works. One of the main criticisms of Sculthorpe’s music is he reuses themes in different guises throughout a plethora of different works, but what people don’t understand is he looked at composition as a continuous journey where nothing is forgotten, although there is one work where he threw all of this out of the window and that work is Sun Music. This is an avant-garde work that uses Sculthorpe’s own musical symbols and notation. At the world premiere of this work, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra hadn’t the foggiest clue how to perform it. Anyway, do check out his tone poems like Earth Cry, Kakadu and Mangrove, which beautifully capture the Australian landscape in sound. I’d also check out Island Dreaming, Memento mori, Port Essington, Sun Music I-IV (of course!), Island Songs Nourlangie, Music for Federation and, one of his crowning achievements, the Piano Concerto.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: T. D. on August 25, 2021, 05:37:18 AM
I've heard a couple of Sculthorpe pieces live and enjoyed them, the one I recall is For Ubirr, a string quartet + didjeridoo.
Would be interested in the string quartets, but gave up on the idea years ago because recordings are scarce. There's a 10-disc box of collected works that appears to be mostly orchestral, I noticed no SQ on it.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 05:43:32 AM
I've heard a couple of Sculthorpe pieces live and enjoyed them, the one I recall is For Ubirr, a string quartet + didjeridoo.
Would be interested in the string quartets, but gave up on the idea years ago because recordings are scarce. There's a 10-disc box of collected works that appears to be mostly orchestral, I noticed no SQ on it.

The ABC Classics box set is a missed opportunity of sorts. None of the chamber works were included, but there is a DVD that I can’t watch because of the region its encoded with that talks about his SQs and I think a few of them were performed. To my knowledge, the SQs have never been recorded for ABC Classics. The only series that I’ve seen (and ended up buying many years ago) was the one on the Tall Poppies label with the Goldner Quartet. I’m quite certain these recordings (there’s three volumes in all) are long gone by now. They were difficult to find even when I was looking for them. The solo piano music is quite good, so you may want look into it, T. D. There’s a 2-CD set on ABC Classics with Tamara-Anna Cislowska:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODA0OTk1My4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1MDcwMjE1Mzd9)

I don’t really understand your ambivalence about orchestral music, but this is something that Sculthorpe excelled in and should be explored if you’re at all curious about the composer.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: T. D. on August 25, 2021, 05:51:21 AM
There is a release of the string quartets with didjeridoo. 2 CD + 1 Blu-ray with the same contents.

(https://img.discogs.com/W3SXe0-MJFf4fdPh1Zk-3cJirMI=/fit-in/513x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-13592513-1557121833-1330.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 06:01:54 AM
There is a release of the string quartets with didjeridoo. 2 CD + 1 Blu-ray with the same contents.

(https://img.discogs.com/W3SXe0-MJFf4fdPh1Zk-3cJirMI=/fit-in/513x450/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-13592513-1557121833-1330.jpeg.jpg)

Yep, but with all honesty, I don’t care anything about the didjeridoo. It doesn’t add anything to the music. Plus, these SQs that do have the didjeridoo are works where he adds it in as an optional part. I’d stick with the SQs as they are and see if you can track down those Goldner Quartet recordings.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: T. D. on August 25, 2021, 06:20:06 AM
Agreed, I heard one of the works (For Ubirr) live, and 2 CD wholly with that ensemble doesn't knock me out.
Will look for selected works. I listen to orchestral music, but don't really care for the symphonic genre (donning flame-retardant suit), which narrows the field a bit. Sculthorpe could be a good composer for me in that regard, no labeled "Symphonies" in his oeuvre.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 06:31:56 AM
Agreed, I heard one of the works (For Ubirr) live, and 2 CD wholly with that ensemble doesn't knock me out.
Will look for selected works. I listen to orchestral music, but don't really care for the symphonic genre (donning flame-retardant suit), which narrows the field a bit. Sculthorpe could be a good composer for me in that regard, no labeled "Symphonies" in his oeuvre.

 8)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: foxandpeng on August 25, 2021, 06:39:38 AM
Yeah, foxandpeng, I deleted the Sculthorpe group as there just wasn’t any activity happening in it and I ended up not really feeling like maintaining it. It’s good that you’re getting into his music, though. He was one of the most outstanding composers I know from Australia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get much attention here on GMG. But, it’s not a problem, I’m glad to see you listening to his SQs, which are some of his most important works. One of the main criticisms of Sculthorpe’s music is he reuses themes in different guises throughout a plethora of different works, but what people don’t understand is he looked at composition as a continuous journey where nothing is forgotten, although there is one work where he threw all of this out of the window and that work is Sun Music. This is an avant-garde work that uses Sculthorpe’s own musical symbols and notation. At the world premiere of this work, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra hadn’t the foggiest clue how to perform it. Anyway, do check out his tone poems like Earth Cry, Kakadu and Mangrove, which beautifully capture the Australian landscape in sound. I’d also check out Island Dreaming, Memento mori, Port Essington, Sun Music I-IV (of course!), Island Songs Nourlangie, Music for Federation and, one of his crowning achievements, the Piano Concerto.

Thank you :). Always good to have some pointers as to where to go next with a composer, from somebody who knows the landscape. It's a real shame that the FB group had little support, but if he sees little interest even in a forum like this, I guess the foot traffic there would be light too. I shall explore the tone poems once I am a little more familiar with the SQs that I have, I reckon. Cheers!

I've heard a couple of Sculthorpe pieces live and enjoyed them, the one I recall is For Ubirr, a string quartet + didjeridoo.
Would be interested in the string quartets, but gave up on the idea years ago because recordings are scarce. There's a 10-disc box of collected works that appears to be mostly orchestral, I noticed no SQ on it.

If you are a Spotify user, there are at least seven Sculthorpe SQs that I've been able to find so far. I appreciate that not everyone is a fan of streaming, but if you do, then there they are :)
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 06:52:30 AM
Thank you :). Always good to have some pointers as to where to go next with a composer, from somebody who knows the landscape. It's a real shame that the FB group had little support, but if he sees little interest even in a forum like this, I guess the foot traffic there would be light too. I shall explore the tone poems once I am a little more familiar with the SQs that I have, I reckon. Cheers!

Sounds like a good plan as any!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 25, 2021, 12:32:56 PM
Agreed, I heard one of the works (For Ubirr) live, and 2 CD wholly with that ensemble doesn't knock me out.
Will look for selected works. I listen to orchestral music, but don't really care for the symphonic genre (donning flame-retardant suit), which narrows the field a bit. Sculthorpe could be a good composer for me in that regard, no labeled "Symphonies" in his oeuvre.

Well Sculthorpe was about to break the habit of a lifetime and was writing a symphony for the 2015 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings on Gallipoli but unfortunately his final illness supervened.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Madiel on August 25, 2021, 06:26:50 PM
Technically you can probably get Tall Poppies albums direct from the record label as they sell things through their website, though I've no idea in practice how well that would go. They also supply links to a couple of other options (the Australian Music Centre and Buywell Music) but to be honest I don't know how well those would operate either! I know Buywell but I can't recall if I've actually bought something from them.

They do also list some international distributors on the Tall Poppies website as well.

That's all for CDs of course. There's always iTunes etc.
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: T. D. on August 25, 2021, 06:38:06 PM
This could be interesting, I'm listening on Spotify:
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81QC0duaxuL._SS500_.jpg)
Am I mistaken, or is this a witty cover? Anne Sofie von Otter, a big star, represented by an otter in lower right corner? If so, she must have quite a sense of humor!
Title: Re: Peter Sculthorpe (1929 - 2014)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 25, 2021, 06:42:08 PM
Technically you can probably get Tall Poppies albums direct from the record label as they sell things through their website, though I've no idea in practice how well that would go. They also supply links to a couple of other options (the Australian Music Centre and Buywell Music) but to be honest I don't know how well those would operate either! I know Buywell but I can't recall if I've actually bought something from them.

They do also list some international distributors on the Tall Poppies website as well.

That's all for CDs of course. There's always iTunes etc.

Looks like that Buywell site is the way to go:

https://buywellmusic.com/search?q=Sculthorpe (https://buywellmusic.com/search?q=Sculthorpe)