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String Quartet No.1 : Processions : string quartet

by James Ledger (2011)

Also known as: Processions

Audio Sample

Performance by Australian String Quartet from the CD Chamber pieces

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Chamber pieces


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Chamber pieces / James Ledger.

Library shelf no. CD 2349 [Available for loan]

String Quartet No.1


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String Quartet No.1 : Processions / James Ledger.

Library shelf no. 785.714/LED 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

When the general manager of the Australian String Quartet, Alison Beare, and I were in discussions for this commission, she floated the idea of migration as a theme for the work. I immediately had an image in my mind of people trudging through snow - which I think may have come from the film, Dr Zhivago - although I'm not sure why that image came to me as I hadn't seen the film for over twenty years. After much thought on the emotions around displacement and migration, the ideas for Processions were born.

The piece is in three continuous sections, or processions, that run continuously after a short introduction. The first procession is energetic and jubilant music that reflects the optimistic instances of migration, such as the case of my maternal grandparents. They emigrated from England after the second world war when Australia attracted them with the chance of a new and better life.

The second procession reflects the darker side of human displacement. Here, there is uncertainty and perhaps numbness that comes from separation or leaving home. There is a sense of loss and isolation against a trudging motion that is captured in this procession.

The whole work was written against the backdrop of two devastating earthquakes that struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, and then Japan. The third movement is a funeral procession, in which the instruments glissando slowly downward, representing a sigh or expression of grief.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: Introduction -- Procession I -- Procession II -- Procession III.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Australian String Quartet

Commission note: Commissioned by Australian String Quartet.

First performance: by Australian String Quartet at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (Perth Concert Hall) on 30 May 2011

This work has been made possible through the generous support of Jean and Geoff Baulsch, Candy Bennett, David and Kate Bullen, Elizabeth Clayton, John Clayton, Robyn and Colin Cowan, Janet and Michael Hayes, Lyn Jaunay, Diana Laidlaw AM, Susan and Keith Langley, Pamela Lawson, Edwina Lehmann, Sue Leitch, Joan Lyons, Anne Marshall, Pam and David McKee, Diana McLaurin, Etelka and John Richards, Jill Russell, Jeanette Sandford-Morgan OAM, Gavin Sandford-Morgan OAM

Performances of this work

19 Feb 2014: at ANAM Quartetthaus (Perth Writers Festival Precinct, Uni of WA). Featuring Musicians of the National Academy of Music.

29 Jul 13: featuring Australian String Quartet.

28 Jul 2013: at Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Townsville Civic Theatre). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

13 Sep 2012: at ANAM Quartetthaus (ANAM Quartetthaus).

14 Aug 2012: at Australian Voices - James Ledger curated by Paul Dean (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Musicians of the National Academy of Music.

14 Aug 11: Hartley Concert Room, Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide. Featuring Australian String Quartet.

9 Jun 2011: at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (City Recital Hall). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

7 Jun 2011: at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (Conservatorium Theatre, Brisbane). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

3 Jun 2011: at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

1 Jun 2011: at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (Adelaide Town Hall). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

30 May 2011: at Australian String Quartet: Cypresses (Perth Concert Hall). Featuring Australian String Quartet.

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