Elaine Forrestal

To See the World – the music

Dr Georg Caroll playing the harpsichord at the launch of To See the World

It is most unusual for me to write two blogs in one week, but I need to tell you about an exciting new spin-off from the Rose de Freycinet story, To See the World.

On Sunday, in the Government House Ballroom, a most extraordinary event took place. Dr Georg Caroll, who played the harpsichord at the launch of the book a year ago, has been working on his own original piece of music inspired by the story of Rose’s voyage around the world between 1817 and 1820. During his time as Artist-in-Residence at the State Library of Western Australia Dr Caroll, or Jordi as he prefers to be called, set out to capture the essence of the voyage aboard the sailing ship Uranie in music. After more than a year of writing, trialling, workshopping and more writing he performed the finished Freycinet Suite for the first time, accompanied by the Perth Baroque Orchestra. The Freycinet Suite is a stunning, original and immensely satisfying evocation of a long sea voyage, often through uncharted waters, encountering many hazards and hostile people as well as being highly acclaimed and treated like royalty, once the achievements of the voyage became known. Jordi has captured the swaying motion, the fierce squalls of wind and the excitement of reaching land at last. He has also incorporated a little tune, originally sung by Aboriginal women and written down by Louis de Freycinet while the ship was in port in Sydney. This simple melody became part of an exchange of ‘Notes’ from the Colony of New South Wales. The ‘Notes’ were eventually translated into English by West Austraian, Tom Cullotty.

After being practically unknown except by their families in France until a few years ago, the details of the remarkable voyage of the Uranie, with Rose and Louis on board, have been captured in paintings, books, and music. It is amazing how a good story will expand and travel, developing a momentum of its own and drawing in new audiences.

We are just waiting for the movie now.