You’ll Come Matilda (Endlessly Waltzing)
For wind ensemble, grade 4
The song “Waltzing Matilda” has been called “the unofficial national anthem of Australia.” Like many folksongs, the lyrics of “Waltzing Matilda” are based on actual events. In this case, these events took place during the Australian Sheepshearers Strike.
The song tells the story of a starving drifter who stole a sheep from his former master. When the owner of the sheep came to confront the drifter with three armed members of the Australian National Guard, rather than allow himself to be captured and hanged for the theft, the drifter jumped into the watering hole beside which he had camped. The weight of his knapsack caused him to drown, and it is rumored that his ghost still haunts the watering hole to this day.
In this setting of “Waltzing Matilda,” I attempted to communicate the actual story surrounding the song, rather than just a straightforward arrangement of a nice melody. Like the lyrics, the music takes a dark ominous turn near the middle of the piece, and at the end we are left with the voice of the drifter’s ghost whispering to all those who pass by the location of his demise.
You’ll Come Matilda (Endlessly Waltzing) was commssioned by Aaron Burgess and the E.O. Smith High School band of Storrs, CT.