Program notes

She dances by the river, opus 103 (2018)

This piano quartet is a lyrical and lush study in slow dance-like motion commissioned by the Australian Cultural Fund and Geoff Stearn in 2018. The music’s eight minutes unfolds in the three strings over low soft chords in the piano and then builds to a strong conclusion. The title, She dances by the river, refers to people of courage who overcome obstacles and achieve their goals in spite of great challenges and also evokes the ambiguous playfulness of Grieg’s piano miniature, She dances.

Towards the end the music, as if in a dream, hints at the traditional African-American spiritual song, “Down to the river to pray,” and captures a mood of affirmation and determination. The work’s premiere was given at the Canberra International Music Festival in 2021 with Veronique Serret, violin, James Wannan, viola, Blair Harris, cello, and Sonya Lifschitz, piano.

© Andrew Schultz, 2021.