Not all the great composers are dead -- nor come exclusively from Europe. As we continue the Consonant Classical Challenge., we look at Peter Sculthorpe, one of Australia's most prominent composers. His aim is to blend the musical heritage of Australia (particularly of the outback) with classical music traditions.
Sometimes, that blending is in the instrumentation. His work Earth Cry, for example, is written for orchestra and didgeridoo.
Sometimes it takes a more subtle form. If you listen carefully to Mangrove, you'll hear some interesting tonal coloration, including the echoes of a flock of birds as they seemingly take flight.
Born in 1929, Sculthorpe has produced an impressive body of work, most of it well-respected among serious classical music lovers. In addition to two operas, he's composed extensively for orchestra as well as several works for solo instruments and chamber orchestra, and seventeen string quartets.
Sculthorpe studied piano from a young age, so it's no surprise he's written quite a few works for it -- both as a solo instrument and part of a chamber ensemble.
His Nocturne has all the expressiveness of Sculthorpe's music distilled down to its essence.
Sculthorpe takes the familiar language of classical music and gives it a different -- and appealing -- flavor. American audiences, like those in Australia, might find his music quite appealing. If only they were exposed to it.
Sculthorpe: Island Dreamings / String Quartets
Peter Sculthorpe: Earth Cry; Piano Concerto
The Best of Peter Sculthorpe