Home > Wind quintet > Australian National Anthem (Advance Australia) Fair for Clarinet Quintet

Australian National Anthem (Advance Australia) Fair for Clarinet Quintet

Composer
Peter Dodds McCormick (1834-1916) Arr:Keith Terrett
Arranger
Difficulty
Easy (Grades 1-3)
Duration
1 minute
Genre
Classroom materials
Instrumentation
Wind quintet
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An arrangement of the Australian National Anthem Advance Australia far for Clarinet Quintet.

The original song Advance Australia Fair was composed by Peter Dodds McCormick under the pen-name ’Amicus’ (which means ’friend’ in Latin), in the late 19th century, and first performed by Andrew Fairfax at a Highland Society function in Sydney on 30 November 1878. The song quickly gained popularity and an amended version was sung by a choir of 10,000 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. In 1907 the Australian Government awarded McCormick £100 for his composition.

In a letter to R. B. Fuller Esq., dated 1 August 1913, McCormick described the circumstances that inspired him to write Advance Australia Fair:

One night I attended a great concert in the Exhibition Building, when all the National Anthems of the world were to be sung by a large choir with band accompaniment. This was very nicely done, but I felt very aggravated that there was not one note for Australia. On the way home in a bus, I concocted the first verse of my song & when I got home I set it to music. I first wrote it in the Tonic Sol-fa notation, then transcribed it into the Old Notation, & I tried it over on an instrument next morning, & found it correct. Strange to say there has not been a note of it altered since. Some alteration has been made in the wording, but the sense is the same. It seemed to me to be like an inspiration, & I wrote the words & music with the greatest ease.

Before its adoption as Australia’s national anthem, Advance Australia Fair saw considerable use elsewhere. For example, Australia’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, used it to announce its news bulletins until 1952. It was also frequently played at the start or end of official functions. Towards the end of World War II, it was played in picture theatres after "God Save the Queen" and the American national anthem.

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