Magazine article Strings

A Very Gentle Sound

Magazine article Strings

A Very Gentle Sound

Article excerpt

A VERY GENTLE SOUND

The Del Sol Quartet convey Peter Sculthorpe's otherworldly sound

In 1985, when the Kronos Quartet made its first album for Nonesuch, the first five tracks were the five movements of Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe's String Quartet No. 8, based on Balinese percussion gamelan.

It was music whose basic ideas stemmed from the ethnomusicological discoveries that have become part of what world music is today, and whose concerns have spread, as Sculthorpe's did early on, to issues like those addressed on this recording, including asylum seekers, the extinction of Tasmanian culture, and climate change. It is an eloquent and appropriate testimony to the music of Sculthorpe, who died in August at the age of 85.

In four of his last seven quartets (Nos. 12, 14, 16, and 18), Sculthorpe wrote into his music optional parts for the indigenous Australian didjeridu, a large wooden drone made out of the termite-hollowed branches of Eucalyptus trees. …

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