Sunday, December 02, 2012

Unusual concertos [40]: Didgeridoo

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The fortieth concerto deals with the didgeridoo (image source). This is the national instrument of the indigenous Australians, and unlike any other instrument I know. Most of us will know this 1-3 m long beast from New Age records, if at all, and its use in classical music is predictably scarce. The most famous composer who wrote parts for it is undoubtedly Peter Sculthorpe, for instance in his composition Earth Cry. For a real concerto, we have to look for the likes of Sean O'Boyle, who composed a fairly popular concerto for didgeridoo a few years ago. This concerto is in four movements, titled Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. My version is by William Barton and the Queensland Symphony under the composer, taken from an ABC Classics CD.

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