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Dancing with strangers : string quartet

by Paul Stanhope (2004)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

From the CD String quartet no. 2

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String quartet no. 2


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String quartet no. 2 : dancing with strangers / Paul Stanhope.

Library shelf no. CD 1433 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Dancing with Strangers is named after a historical study by Australian academic Inga Clendinnen. In her book of the same name, Clendinnen details accounts of first contact between the local indigenous communities who lived around Sydney harbour and the First Fleet upon its arrival in Port Jackson in January 1788. In these remarkable accounts, the local peoples spontaneously greeted the British with acts of impulsive song and dance. Clendinnen writes:

In January 1788 the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales and a thousand British men and women encountered the people who would be their new neighbours-the beach nomads of Australia. 'These people mixed with ours,' wrote a British observer soon after landfall, 'and all hands danced together'.

This piece is largely about these joyful and unfettered exchanges of dance in those first meetings. In the outer sections of this single-movement quartet, we hear much revelry and celebratory dancing.

Work Details

Year: 2004

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional or high level student performers

Commission note: Commissioned by Ars Musica Australis, Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge.. Commissioned for the Australian Youth Orchestra's Young Australian Concert Artists (YACA) program.

First performance: by Australian Youth Orchestra — 13 May 04. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, NSW

Revised in 2007


Program note: Paul Stanhope's "Dancing with strangers"
by Paul Stanhope

Performances of this work

31 May 2019: at Greyscale | Light Qualities (St Stephen's Uniting Church (Sydney)). Featuring Quart-Ed.

11 Apr 2014: at Musical Postcards with Tulipwood Quartet (Eudlo Hall). Featuring Tulipwood Quartet.

13 May 04: Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, NSW. Featuring Australian Youth Orchestra.

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