Matilda Deconstructions
for solo piano (2005)
duration: 4’
GRT • 107

YouTube (1. Energised, Elated)

recording available
Satellite Mapping
Complete works for solo piano (1989–2014)
Amir Farid
Move Records, MD3402, 2016

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
These two miniatures were commissioned by pianist, Elyane Laussade, to form a set of variations by Melbourne composers on the unofficial Australian anthem, Waltzing Matilda. Being a national theme, it has been subjected to many gruesome renditions that leave one wondering if patriotism truly is the last refuge of the scoundrel. For this reason, the tune has not always been dear to my heart. The opportunity to write these miniatures, however, has allowed me to reclaim some personal attachment to the theme and I have taken a fairly free–form approach to meditate upon it. I have called them ‘deconstructions’ and not ‘variations’ since my approach was to extract key notes and intervals from Waltzing Matilda and to take them into a different musical space.

“…For the "new" element, Matilda Mutations, she invited various Melbourne composers — Michael Betram, William Schmidt, Stuart Greenbaum, Mark Pollard, Calvin Bowman, Joe Chindamo — to produce a short take or two on the second national anthem. Some of the eight variations kept to the tune's contours pretty closely. Others, such as Greenbaum's, cut back to bare chords. Mind you, Laussade had a high strike rate with this score chiefly because she enjoyed the best of a commissioning performer's world, being able to consult her composers on their intentions and desired modes of interpretation.”
Clive O’Connell, The Age, October 2005

“Written for Elyane Laussade, Matilda Deconstructions takes fragments of Waltzing Matilda and, in the first segment, gives a driving perpetuo; the second dissection, less rhythmically rigid, uses a five-note falling ostinato to support...decorative passages of play.”
Clive O’Connell, O’Connell the Music, August, 2016

“In the same mode of quoting small fragments of song, traces of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ can be detected in two imaginative pieces commissioned in 2005 as part of a set of variations by Melbourne composers on the unofficial Australian anthem.”
Gwen Bennett, Music Trust E–Zine, September 2016