Commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra through Symphony Australia with funds from the Australia Council for the Arts
First performance of this version by Australian Youth Orchestra chamber orchestra directed by Helena Rathbone, National Music Camp, Llewellyn Hall, ANU, Canberra, January 2006.
Andrew Ford: Sad Jigs (2005) for string quintet
The title of this piece is actually one of Debussy’s cast-offs: Gigues tristes was the French composer’s original name for the first panel of his orchestral Images, which he ended up calling simply Gigues. Debussy’s piece quotes the Northumbrian song ‘The Keel Row’. My piece fleetingly quotes the Debussy and, just as fleetingly, a couple of fragments from a piece by John Buller. John was my teacher in 1977, and this was also the year of the premiere of Proença, his marvellous, long song cycle for mezzo-soprano, electric guitar and orchestra to words by troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries. Buller’s music is hardly known in Australia, but there’s a fine recording of Proença.
John Buller died in 2004 and Sad Jigs is dedicated to his memory. It was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for its string fellows to play and it lasts around eight minutes.