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Ross James Carey: Toccatina...Embedded video
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Toccatina (Elegy) (2010) for string quartet was composed directly after the passing of Australian singer-songwriter Ruby Hunter in February 2010, and is dedicated to her memory. The premiere of the work was given by the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) at the first ASQ National Composers' Forum, in the Elder Hall of the University of Adelaide on the 29th of August, 2010. This performance was recorded and broadcast around Australia by ABC Classic FM. Prior to this it had received a read-through performance at an Auckland Philharmonia Friends’ Concert on the 11th of June, 2010.
Ruby Hunter was one of Australia’s most beloved singer-songwriters. With her partner Archie Roach, she powerfully articulated through song the contemporary experiences of Australia’s indigenous peoples. I heard Ruby and Archie perform as part of the ‘Black Arm Band’ at the 2009 Melbourne International Festival of the Arts and was struck by her great charisma as a performer, as well as the powerful message articulated by the band. Upon hearing of Ruby’s death a few months later and reading the inspiring and remarkable story of her life, I composed this work dedicated to her memory.
The piece is in ABA form. The A section features a hocket-like texture from which impassioned melodic lines spiral ever upwards. The B section features melodies over gently moving triadic harmonies. The piece concludes with a sense of affirmation and hope in a G Major tonality.
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