Adelaide composer Anne Cawrse’s A Room of Her Own(2020) was a feature in this program of strikingly contrasting and insightfully selected quartets whose publication spans over 200 years. Cawrse’s new work, anticipated in an interview with her in Limelight , is finely crafted and deeply felt. Around 25 minutes in length and comprising four movements performed continuously, A Room of Her Ownopened the Australian String Quartet’s first public concert since lockdown restrictions were eased in South Australia.

Anne Cawrse

Cawrse’s inspiration for the work was Virginia Woolf’s 1929 essay A Room of One’s Own, which reflects on what a woman needs to be a writer, and, similarly, Cawrse reflects on the needs of the female composer — a regular income and a secure, private space for thinking and writing. In the first movement, entitled Web, the spot-lit cellist (Sharon Grigoryan) performs a solo that suggests a soliloquy while the other three quartet members (Dale Barltrop, Francesca Hiew and Stephen King), situated almost invisibly at the dimly lit rear of the stage, bow crotales to...

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