Sun Music I

Sun Music I, Irkanda IV, Sinfonietta

I’m very fond of this album: recordings of Peter Sculthorpe’s Sun Music I and Irkanda IV, and Dorian Le Gaillenne’s Sinfonietta by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with a beautiful Albert Tucker painting for the cover art. No release date on the sleeve but from the liner notes it seems to have been around 1967. It was released by World Record Club, which label should be a whole nostalgia trigger of its own for readers of a certain age whose parents or grandparents collected classical music, and was “a special presentation of the Foundation for the Recording of Australian Music.”

I bought it – from some second-hand store – because of a state music camp I attended in year 10. We performed Sun Music I in the orchestra, and as third trombone, I thought it was great fun, especially the big glissandos at the works’ climax. The reception of 20th century works by the players depended on where they were in the orchestra. Strings and woodwinds seemed to grumble about anything later than Brahms, but we brass and percussion were happy with the modern repertoire, if only because they gave us something to do. Trombone parts in early 19th-century works are basically exclamation points at the finales separated by 105-bar rests.

So while I could talk about how it represents an earlier time – a sort of earnest nativist modernism – I can’t really see it as dated, because it feels too much like part of the cultural background of my own childhood.

In other modernism news, the Modern Times flickr group is being dominated by photographs of the MLC Centre and the El Alamein fountain in Fitzroy Gardens.


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