Two works for violin and piano have recently been completed.
The first of these is the Violin Concertino: Summer Stories. This work was commissioned by Michael Patterson and Ars Musica Australis. Mike Patterson particularly wanted a work in which the solo violin part was not too difficult – that is, it would be playable by violinists of standard between Grades 7 and A.Mus.A. AMEB levels. The work is subtitled “Summer Stories” because each of its three movements relates in some way to an aspect of summer.
The second new work for violin and piano is Maralinga. Maralinga is a place in the South Australian desert, and was the site for secret British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s. Not a happy place in Australian history for either the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area, nor the Australian service personnel who were unwittingly used as guinea pigs for the effects of radiation.
Maralinga was written for Lara St. John, who will premiere the piece on 20 March, 2009. It was commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.
for violin and piano
duration: approx. 11 minutes
Faber Music publishing details, also available in a version for violin and string orchestra
None yet available.
The Australian aboriginal word Maralinga may sound quite beautiful to people outside of Australia, but to Australians its connotations are much more sinister.
In the early 1950s, the nuclear arms race was underway amongst the major nations of the world. Great Britain wanted to test its recently acquired nuclear weapons, and Australia in the 1950s was a place that still regarded Britain as “home” (particularly the Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies). Consequently secret nuclear testing was conducted in the South Australian desert, at Maralinga and Emu Creek between 1953-1963.
Tests included some very nasty experiments with kilograms of plutonium which subsequently contaminated the test site. Unfortunately, according to a subsequent Royal Commission into the tests, it seems that the welfare of the aboriginal inhabitants and the Australian service personnel at the test sites was never taken into account. Australian military personnel were used as unwitting guinea pigs into the effects of radiation from these experiments.
Maralinga was officially cleaned up by the year 2000, but the site and its history remains a stain upon Australia’s historical record. This piece makes reference to the long Aboriginal history at Maralinga as well as more recent events and attitudes.
Maralinga was commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, for premiere by Lara St. John (violin) on 20 March 2009.
notes by Matthew Hindson, 20009.
CD Recording Available?