Program notes

Doppler Patrol, opus 111 (2020)

Doppler Patrol is an orchestral work incorporating within its original instrumentation the Vietnamese instrument the đàn tranh, plus the acoustic guitar and didgeridoo. The work also exists in a version with two acoustic guitars and didgeridoo but without the đàn tranh.

The title of the work relates to its commission as a movement in the 2021 Vietnam Requiem. This particular movement tries to capture the anxiety and occasional elation in the experience of being an outsider on patrol in a forbidding dense jungle environment where threats and unfamiliarity contribute to a heightened sense of fear and awareness. The piece ends with an extended lament for đàn tranh accompanied by the didgeridoo in the original version or for two guitars and didgeridoo in the later version. The ‘Doppler’ reference in the title refers to the falling semitone pattern heard throughout the work – suggesting the Doppler effect experience of a sound in motion dropping in pitch when moving closer and then further away.

The work was commissioned by Flowers of War and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, for the Patrolling movement of the Vietnam Requiem. The first performance of Doppler Patrol was performed by The Canberra Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Army Band for the Flowers of Peace and Vietnam Requiem in Llewellyn Hall, ANU, Canberra, May 2021. The artistic director and conductor was Christopher Latham.

© Andrew Schultz, 2021.