Dancing with strangers : string quartet
by Paul Stanhope (2004)
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Library shelf no. CD 1433 [Available for loan]
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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.
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.
Duration: 12 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional or high level student performers
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
13 May 04: Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, NSW. Featuring Australian Youth Orchestra.
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