Originally posted at The Sampler:
“Peace and I are strangers grown.” This is the grave line from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas which begins Ruthless Jabiru’s homage to Australian poet and activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal; a programme exploring Colonial race relations for the inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts this weekend in London.
I will be conducting Ruthless Jabiru in a collection of new music for string orchestra inspired by Oodgeroo’s poem The Past. The poem has been set by Australian composer Andrew Ford combined with excerpts from James Cook’s diaries on encountering the Aboriginal people. For me, one of the most interesting things about this programme is the conflict with the traditional understanding of what we deem to be either old or new when it comes to music. In the context of the First Settlers discovering an unmapped continent, the music we usually think of as old: Byrd…
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