I’m had a great time conducting Sydney Symphony Orchestra for Bryony Marks’ brilliant score The Happiness Box. The book was written at Changi Camp in 1942 by POWs David Griffin and Leslie Greener. It’s a colorful, sophisticated score, beautifully illustrating the story delivered by narrator Mandy Bishop. The concert was livestreamed to classrooms across the nation. Recorded live at The Seymour Centre on 1 November 2018.
MACQUARIE, and orchestral-hiphop interrogation of the legacy of Lachlan Macquarie. By Luka Lesson (words) & Gordon Hamilton (music)
Queensland Symphony Orchestra // Conductor, Sarah-Grace Williams // Rapper, Luka Lesson
The ‘Macquarie’ concerto was inspired by events both in Australia and in the southern states of the USA, where statues of confederate fighters are being torn down because of their roles in supporting slavery during the civil war. Here as well, there is contention about whether we should be honouring people who advanced the colony while advocating for the oppression of Indigenous peoples. Macquarie himself is seen by some as a hero, and others as a villain. A hero in that he established the first bank and currency and advanced Sydney from a colonial village to a burgeoning city. And a villain in that it was through his hunger for perpetual growth that he also established the first institution for Aboriginal children to be taken from their families and be placed into government care, and ordered the first government sanctioned massacre of Indigenous people. The Appin massacre resulted in 14 deaths, with body parts of two of those killed sent to Edinburgh for scientific study, where they remain today. This work asks the questions: Do these actions reverberate in the way we as Australians treat each other today?
This is a piece that Tom Thum and I wrote on a recent writing trip to Ukaria Cultural Centre in the Adelaide Hills to develop music for our concerts in Cologne and Nürnberg. We were super stoked to have some fantastic players from Adelaide Symphony Orchestra join us for this one. Named after the parrot that flew into the glass when we were thinking of a name (it was fine.)
Conducting 'Red Live Breath' by Berlin-based Australian composer Cathy Milliken. In this ritualistic work, the choristers gather to sing short phrases, play stones, exchange sonorities with whirlies and interact with torches: all actions that set the space as a magical place. The text is taken from Gertrude Stein, Herbert Zbigniew and Cathy Milliken.
Frederick Septimus Kelly was an Australian-British composer who began composing his "Elegy in Memoriam Rupert Brooke" as his dear friend, the poet Brooke lay dying on a transport ship. Kelly survived the carnage and was wounded at Gallipoli, only to die while rushing a German machine gun at Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre. Our Artistic Director Gordon Hamilton has adapted the famous string work for voices in a setting one of Brooke's best-known poems.
I quite like our national anthem, even though it gets a bad rap. It has satisfying rising & falling phrases and a clear structure. I arranged it a few years ago, wanting to explore some different harmonic possibilities.
Download the score: https://goo.gl/NWEQSC
Download the scores here.
One-minute piano pieces // all experiences are temporary // pieces cycle through modes and scales // themes recur // one string is prepared
This is a song I really connect with. Simple and direct lyrics and a melody with a beautiful shape. We were warming up in a gorgeous stone hall before the concert in Tecpán Cathedral (this was also the scene of the post-concert beans & tortillas 😋)
Download the score: https://goo.gl/amNKhH
‘Who Are We’ marvels at the enormity of the universe. The text is by the great scientist, communicator and atheist, Carl Sagan:
We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star
lost in a galaxy in some forgotten corner
of a universe containing far more galaxies than people.
Download the score: https://goo.gl/nXpT7o