Australian String Quartet Records Two New Pieces

The Australian String Quartet celebrates AusMusic Month with two new releases, Stephen Pigram’s Walganyagarra Buru and Charles Edward Horsley’s String Quartet no 1. Both recordings will be available on the ASQ’s Australian Anthology digital release platform.

Coinciding with NAIDOC celebrations last week, the ASQ released a recording of Stephen Pigram’s Walganyagarra Buru, a piece which tells story of the meeting of Pigram’s great-grandparents, sung in Yawuru, Broome Kriol and English. This work was commissioned by the Klein Family Foundation, as part of Quartet & Country, a project by the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and its 2016-2019 Artistic Director, composer Iain Grandage, UKARIA and the Australian String Quartet, and recorded live from Melbourne Recital Centre in 2019.

Later, on 27 November, the ASQ will release a recording of the very first manuscript for a string quartet ever written in Australia, Charles Edward Horsley’s String Quartet No 1 in C major, written in 1862.

These contrasting releases demonstrate the variety and breadth of the string quartet repertoire, and reflect the diverse influences on Australian music and culture across time.

“Walganyagarra buru, which translates as “long time ago in country” in our Yawuru language “nganga” is a song in which I hoped would bring elements of storytelling in Traditional, kriol and English; and in the music – Folk, Country and Djabi melody. The powerful and beautiful string arrangement by Iain Grandage and the performance of the ASQ when we play it live takes me back to the late 1890’s early 1900’s when this story is set about the journey of my great grandmother Minybal Esther, moving off her traditional lands into the shanty pearling camps of Broome and meeting Santiago, the father of my grandmother Petronella, mimi, matriarch of a very large family in our buru today.” – composer Stephen Pigram

For 35 years, the ASQ has performed for national and international audiences, dedicated to musical excellence with a distinctly Australian character. From its home base at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, the ASQ engages performers and audiences outstanding performances, workshops, commissions and education projects. The Quartet’s distinct sound is enhanced by a matched set of 18th century Guadagnini instruments, handcrafted by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini between c.1743 and 1784 in Turin and Piacenza, Italy.

Australian Anthology recordings are available to stream via Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Youtube, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer and others.


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