Elizabeth Anderson plays Harpsichord
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The man who shot a lawyer ...

Elizabeth Anderson - Harpsichord

Frustrated in love, John Grant shot a London Lawyer and was sentenced to death. Granted a reprieve, he arrived at Sydney Cove in 1804, bringing the first harpsichord to Australia.

Readings from John Grantís diary are alternated with music from his library (Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Paradies, Mozart) and a new work for harpsichord, didjeridu and Australian bush sounds by Ron Nagorcka.

Programme notes

It was Grantís clandestine relationship with the betrothed Miss Ward that had led him, an honourable man, to ask Miss Wardís guardian for a formal introduction. The guardian and family solicitor, Spencer Townsend was also an honourable man, loyal to Miss Wardís deceased father, and he accordingly refused Grant access to his lover on any terms. Grant had approached Townsend with two pistols in his hand, intending to challenge him to a duel, but when Townsend had turned his back, the flames of Grantís passion fanned his anger, and he pulled the trigger.

John Grant was sufficiently well-connected to have a petition written on his behalf to King George III, signed by 38 important people of the city of London. As a result, the death sentence was commuted to transportation for the term of his natural life to the penal settlement of New South Wales. John Grant was the first person to bring a harpsichord to Australia.

In this programme, readings adapted from Grantís diaries are alternated with his choice of harpsichord music, published in London between 1791 and 1803.

The centrepiece of the programme, a new work by Ron Nagorcka, with didgeridoo and Australian bush sounds, provides a unique synthesis of sounds from the old and new worlds, from European and Australian indigenous culture.

The Defence
Georg Friderick Handel (1685-1759) Prelude from Suite No. V, the "Harmonious Blacksmith"
My dearest Mother . . .
J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Prelude No. 24 in b minor (BWV 893)
Buying rum in San Salvador
Fugue No. 24 in b minor (BWV 893)
The arrival at Sydney Cove
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) Sonata in d minor K 33
Unwelcome at Governor Kingís garden party
Sonata in d minor K 32
The Second Trial
Pietro Domenico Paradies (1707-í91) Presto from Sonata No.X in d minor
Norfolk Island, a place for troublesome convicts
Georg Friderick Handel Air with Variations from Suite No.V, the "Harmonious Blacksmith"
Tea in Captain Symmondsí cabin
J.S. Bach Prelude No. 15 in G BWV 884
An encounter with some natives
Ron Nagorcka (born 1948) This Beauteous Wicked Place* for harpsichord, didgeridoo and Australian bush sounds
The newly-appointed Governor Macquarie visits Mrs Grant in London
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) Variations on "Ah vous dirai je, Maman" K 265
The Pardon
J.S. Bach Fugue No.15 in G BWV 884

* This work was commissioned by Elizabeth Anderson, with the assistance of the Australia Council, the Federal Governmentís Arts Funding and Advisory Body

The Convict Harpsichordist
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