Time Immemorial: ABC video

by Jeremy on November 22, 2014

I’m happy to release the video of my performance with the Sydney Conservatorium’s Modern Music Ensemble, performing music from my major work Iron in the Blood: Music inspired by Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore. 

The full recording of this work, which will be performed by a jazz orchestra, will take place in January 2015.

Music composed by Jeremy Rose

Guest soloists: Jeremy Rose – soprano saxophone
Steve Barry – piano and harpsichord
Peter Koopman – guitar
Narration performed Michael Cullen
Text used with permission from the Hughes estate

Program notes for Iron in the Blood – II: Time Immemorial

Robert Hughes’ (1938-2012) The Fatal Shore is the most well known book on Australia’s founding. It details the story of how England forcibly removed an entire criminal class to the far perimeters of the known world to establish a slave labour camp and the near destruction of the aboriginal population. It’s extensive use of excerpts and quotes from letters, diaries, songs and poetry portray the pain and tragedy of the system from the people themselves. Combined with Hughes’ excellent and gripping narration, the book is a seminal masterpiece in which its entirety is greater than the sum of its parts. The book was first published in 1986 at a time when Australia was attempting a forced amnesia of its past and numerous myths were circulating as to the reasons for the founding of the continent.

With the passing of Hughes in 2012, Iron in the Blood serves to commend the courage and detailed research that went into his mission and bring to this powerful piece of history with a musical narrative. Combining composer Jeremy Rose’s distinctive jazz composition background, the music navigates the difficult path to freedom for the convicts. Doris Downes, Hughes’ widow recently told the composer that Hughes was an avid jazz fan, and so this work is an apt vehicle for shedding light on his work. The piece combines music and narration from the book and forces us to recalibrate our perspective of this country as we consider the truth behind the forces that shaped modern Australia.

Originally scored for jazz orchestra in a work lasting over an hour long, today’s version of the second movement II: Time Immemorial has been re-orchestrated for the Modern Music Ensemble and features the composer performing, along with special guests.


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