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The didgeridoo resounding The Sound Barrier!

The Sound Barrier for Sunday 7 January 2018

This weekend on The Sound Barrier, the first show for 2018, I will be bringing you new music from one of the oldest instruments. The didgeridoo is at least 1500 years old and, while its origins and still many of its current associations are with traditional indigenous Australian music, its powerful and distinctive sound have, over recent years, brought it more and more into the works of other composers, and other contexts, too.

This is what I will be exploring on this week's show, with four very different works giving prominence to the didgeridoo: the Concerto for Didgeridoo by Sean O'Boyle and William Barton, with its commanding depiction of the elements of the Australian landscape: earth, wind, water and fire; Philip Glass's Voices for Didgeridoo and Organ in which the instantly-recognisable rhythmic and harmonic figures of Philip Glass's music are given an invigorated new life in the didgeridoo of Mark Atkins; the droning swell of Sanctus for organ, didgeridoo, voices and electronics by Ron Nagorcka; and, yes, some Stockhausen, his Spiral for one soloist, a work that responds to and transforms radio sounds, in a version realised for oboe, voice, didgeridoo, and short-wave receiver by Cathy Milliken.

I hope you can join me this Sunday night at 10 PM (AEDT) to explore the astonishing diversity of this amazing instrument that has tended to be so narrowly perceived in terms of its musical possibilities, with four very different works that bring its amazing musicality and versatility to the fore.

You can tune in on your radio (106.7 on Melbourne's FM band, or on PBS digital radio) or log on live anywhere in the world via the website or the PBS app. The show is also available to listen back to, along with its full playlist, here on the website, shortly after it has gone live to air.

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