Sketches from Natal

Malcolm Forsyth
Composition Date: 1970
Revision Date: 1970
Duration: 00:15:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Chamber Orchestra (10 to 20)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Horn
  • 1 x String orchestra
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Horn
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 3:
  • 1 x Chamber orch.
Programme Note:
... Malcolm Forsyth's Sketches from Natal have a quite direct cultural provenance. Forsyth was born in South Africa and emigrated to Canada in 1968; he has lived and worked since then in Edmonton, Alberta as a music professor, composer and trombonist. The CBC commissioned Sketches from Natal, Forsyth's first large-scale orchestral work written in Canada, and the music reflects Forsyth's native landscape. The work was first played by the Alberta Chamber Players, March 23, 1970, with Lawrence Leonard conducting for broadcast from the CBC's Edmonton studios.

Mont-aux-Sources is a tone poem, a musical landscape depicting the physical immensity of the highest mountain in Natal. Umfaan in the Hills refers to the Zulu word for small boy, depicting a child, happily singing and running about the hillsides. Besides allowing him to remember the music of the Zulu tribe from his own childhood, Forsyth's music constructs an allegory: the little boy somehow transforms himself into a whole tribe of people "tormented yet forbearing" (in the composer's words). When the running boy returns, though perhaps he is only a formal construct of the music, he seems more complex, though no less joyful.

Credits: Gasser, Alan. Liner Notes, Milhaud / Maurice / Forsyth; CBC Records SMCD 5135, 1994.

Creator: Alan Gasser

Subject: Sketches from Natal

Date Created: 1994


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1200 F735sk
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Chamber Orchestra (10 to 20)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • August 4, 1989
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (44 p.) ;
    44 Pages
    Height: 39 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • 0200/2000/strings.
    Ms. (photocopy).
    Commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
    Duration: ca. 14:00
    Rental parts available from Counterpoint Music Library Services.
    I. Mont-aux-Sources (ca. 4:00) -- II. Umfaan in the hills (ca. 10:00).
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