Title Details

Peter Sculthorpe Out Takes

Composer Peter Sculthorpe describes how Australian history and landscape have influenced him and tells of the events in his life that have found expression in his music.
Series : Australian Biography Series 7 | Year : 1999 | Total Duration : 26 Minutes | Producer : Robin Hughes
Director : Robin Hughes |
Tape 1 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about early childhood memory, reaction to arrival of younger brother, disciplined upbringing, father's business during the Depression, taking up sports to please his father, becoming a champion swimmer as was his father, first experience with music in a Chinese market garden, first music lesson and assuming that he was going to learn to write music and being reprimanded by music teacher, encouragement from mother for his creativity, his brother Roger learning the violin but losing interest and going into sports business, relationship with Roger, loving every moment of school days, important relationships with teachers, writing poetry, painting lessons which came to an abrupt end.
Access No. 132219 | 35 mins 47 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 2 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about not really getting a rough time from other children because he was involved in the arts, father teaching him and his brother to stand up for their rights, changing music teachers, introduction into professional world of music, problem of a career path after school and choosing music, music he wrote as a boy, music that influenced him in his formative years, influence from Ernest Bloch, always following his own feelings about things, going to university of Melbourne to study music and support from father, post war Ògolden periodÓ at universities, learning and making life long friends during university years, importance of a broader education for a composer, not having exposure to avant guarde composers at the time, teaching after graduating from Conservatorium, spending 4 years in partnership with his brother in a sports store, entering competitions, living in Canberra and writing a musical, then going to Sydney, attraction to theatricals, winning scholarship.
Access No. 132220 | 35 mins 43 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 3 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about decision to use scholarship money to go to Oxford University and get a PhD in music, first impressions of Oxford , choosing to commute from Birmingham to Oxford, then living in college in Oxford, relationship problems with teachers / tutors/ academics, not having his thesis topic accepted, learning from scores and books, interest in Asian music, friendship with composer and professor of music Wilfrid Mellers, time in England making him more aware of Australian identity, writing music being more important to him than taking scholarship to Germany and other opportunities, returning to Australia when his father became ill with cancer, death of his father, writing ÒIrkanda IVÓ in memory of his father, bond with his father, parents' love for one another.
Access No. 132221 | 35 mins 30 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 4 - Various photographs Peter Sculthorpe and family, friends, academics, sports, sports store, orchestra.
Access No. 132222 | 34 mins 47 secs | 1990s | Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 5 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about time in Tasmania after father's death, friendship with painter Russell Drysdale, getting job at Sydney University in 1963 through Donald Peart who was a visionary, creating an exciting music department for composers, teaching students what was happening with music in the rest of the world, writing his own music according to his vision of Australia, international popularity of Australian composers who are looking at Australia, receiving Alfred Hill Award for ÒString Quartet Number SixÓ which was dedicated to Bonnie Drysdale who had committed suicide, writing ÒSun Music IÓ which was played by the SSO in London to mixed reaction, signing with music publisher, advice from Nugget Coombs for him to go to the United States, going to Yale as a Harkness Fellow, landscape music of America, meeting various artists at Yaddo including Mario Puzo, writing ÒSun Music IIIÓ at Yaddo.
Access No. 132223 | 32 mins 10 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 6 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about his need for contact with Australia for his work, writing Sun Music Ballet for Robert Helpmann, writing music for film and theatre, writing music for Michael Powell film ÒAge of ConsentÓ , stay in Japanese Zen monastery, film score for ÒBurke & WillsÓ, writing ÒRites of PassageÓ, writing for opera, living in Sussex, England for 2 years in the early 1970s, need to be away from Australia to write ÒRites of PassageÓ, working out how to have control over a very busy and demanding life, incorporating Asian music into his own works, looking seriously at Aboriginal music inspired by his involvement with Aboriginal land rights, attraction to Asian music, experiences in Japan with Buddhism and Shintoism, influence of Japanese music.
Access No. 132224 | 35 mins 52 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 7 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about his interest in Asian music, influences of musics from Japan and the use of wind instruments around a melody, experiences with Balinese music, long term relationship with a girl he met at a school dance, engagement to a girl in Melbourne but then breaking it off, general lack of commitment, strong feelings for one woman and broken engagement (Anne Boyd), writing piece called ÒThe Song of TailitnamaÓ which he considers to be one of his best, forming a new dependence on Aboriginal musics and ideas, end of the 1970s being a climax with his pieces ÒCello RequiemÓ and ÒMangroveÓ being his best pieces, more travel during the 1980s achieving more exposure such as the Kronos Quartet championing his music, writing ÒKakaduÓ in 1988 bicentennial year for an American.
Access No. 132225 | 31 mins 19 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 8 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about story of writing music composition ÒKakaduÓ having received a phone call from an American, subsequent extensions of the music, looking to Aboriginal themes due to his own concerns for Aboriginal welfare, political impact of music, writing opera named ÒQuirosÓ for the 50th anniversary of the ABC, his advocation for Australian music over European, visual culture on younger countries, inspiration from other artists and composers, duality in his life and music, thinking of himself as an Australian and proud to have been born in Tasmania.
Access No. 132226 | 32 mins 42 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 9 - Various photographs Peter Sculthorpe, childhood family home, colleagues, family, friends, Oxford University days, musicians.
Access No. 132227 | 14 mins 37 secs | 1990s | Australia; England, UK; USA | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 10 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe talking about connections with life experiences with his music, brave move in writing ÒSun MusicÓ, comments on various music pieces / compositions, wanting to send a message through his music on Aboriginal land rights, progression of music he was writing, passionate work titles ÒEarth CryÓ, countryside and landscape being major influences for his music, responsibility to write uplifting music, always looking ahead as a composer, comments on favourite composers, having no set religious beliefs but beliefs are bound up with nature, thoughts on his positive and happy nature, comments on the myth of having suffering and pain to write music.
Access No. 132228 | 32 mins 58 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 11 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about the process in writing / composing music, wanting to write about something rather than abstract music, writing music according to the contours of landscape around Canberra for ÒIrkanda IÓ, thoughts on architecture, string quartets being the perfect medium to write for, attraction to lower / bass instruments, being receptive to criticism, mixed reactions from audiences, audience passion, importance of his friends, thoughts on other Australian composers and comparisons, thoughts on popular music and writing a piece for rock band Tully.
Access No. 132229 | 32 mins 28 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 12 - Interview Peter Sculthorpe about having experimented with pop / rock music but not pursuing this, giving him a more defined identity as a composer, aspiring to create a great work of art, his mother passing him knowledge / education and support and unconditional love, his mother coming to live with him in Sydney towards the end of her life, acceptance of his mother's death, dedicating a piece called ÒMomento MoieÓ to his mother, wanting to help his students to be better human beings, goodness, writing music from a very early age, being punished by music teacher for writing music after first piano theory lesson, importance in his life of assistant Kelly Trench, writing melody and other elements of composing a piece of music, writing for specific musical instruments, friends being of paramount importance. Footage VS of Peter Sculthorpe playing piano composing music, CU hands at keyboard / keys, writing on score sheet, VS Peter's face while at work.
Access No. 132230 | 35 mins 53 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 13 - Peter Sculthorpe emerging at top of stairs, VS working with colleague in office on music arrangements / scores, VS Peter in sports car driving along residential streets, red sports car pulling into driveway of house, VS Peter getting out of car and entering house.
Access No. 132231 | 8 mins 14 secs | 1990s | Sydney, NSW, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |