Pulse Magnet (2001)

for two pianos and two percussion

list of percussion required:

  • Percussion 1: Brake Drum, Orchestral Bass Drum, Vibraphone with motor, 5 Temple Blocks, 2 Gongs, 2 Congas, 2 Bongos, Tam-Tam, Glockenspiel, 3 Suspended Cymbals, Whistle, Large Siren.
  • Percussion 2: Brake Drum, Orchestral Bass Drum, Glockenspiel (all shared with Perc. 1), Giant Woodblock or Temple Block, Chicken Shaker, Drum Kit comprising: S. Dr., B. Dr., Toms, Hi-Hat, Large Crash, Medium Crash, Ride, Splash, 3 Temple Blocks, 2 Cowbells, Tambourine

duration: 16 minutes

Faber Music publishing details

Audio Excerpt:
Excerpt, first 2 minutes of first movt

Programme Notes

Pulse Magnet has been described as a rhythmic exploration of attraction and repulsion, exploring the vibrancy of sonic interaction between piano and percussion. It is a work in three movements, following a fast-slow-fast structure.

This piece is scored for two pianos and two percussionists, and was written for the Australian Virtuosi in 2001. The huge battalion of percussion used in this work provide access to a wealth of tone colour possibilities, but Hindson has also explored a number of ways in which a pair of pianos can be used.

Pulse Magnet was initially conceived with the idea of a ‘super-piano’ in mind, that is, with both piano parts acting to do things that a single piano was not capable of doing. Hence the two piano parts are frequently antiphonal and canonic, and create chords of great density and complexity, stretching the ability of all four hands.

adapted from a note by Kim Waldock.

CD Recording Available?

    Not at present.

Other Information

Pulse Magnet is one of the pieces featured in Hands On Hindson, an educational resource produced by Musica Viva Australia.

Moments of Plastic Jubilation (1999)

for piano solo

duration: 5 minutes

Audio recording performed by Katarina Kroslakova.

Performance of Moments of Plastic Jubilation by Sabina Im:

Programme Notes

    “…Techno music, nominated by Hindson as his stylistic starting point, is the sort of music you make when you want to grind your heel – ever so nonchalantly – on the old idea of music as a nobly expressive, humane activity.
    “Its mechanical repetitiveness of figuration and beat is a finger sign to musical as tradition – and, in case you feel like raising a red flag in sympathy, it means the same for the idea of music as revolution. This is music which goes with the spurious sense of immunity a hoon might feel while revving-up a wreck on the way to a fast-food joint; its moments of plastic jubilation, faithfully echoed by Hindson, at best fit the closing shots of the lastest action picture schlock”.

from a review of a Sydney Symphony Orchestra performance of SPEED (also by Matthew Hindson), The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday August 27 1999, page 13

This work for solo piano, Moments of Plastic Jubilation, was written partly in response to the above review, but also as being something of a representative summary of many of the composer¹s beliefs regarding music and its place in contemporary 20th/21st century society.

Whilst the work at times demonstrates musical correlations with certain forms of popular music styles, it was also composed using 1960s-style modular techniques. The work is thus very sectional, and relies more heavily on contrast rather than exclusive motivic development to carry the music forward.

It was commissioned by ABC Classic FM for performance by the superb Australian pianist, Michael Kieran Harvey, as part of the ABC’s Millenium celebrations.

notes by Matthew Hindson.


      “EXHILARATION motivated piano duo Michael Kieran Harvey and his sister Bernadette Harvey-Balkus…

Moments Of Plastic Jubilation


enfant terrible

      Matthew Hindson was deliberately provocative, musical leftovers seasoned with wit.” –

Fred Blanks, North Shore Times, 11 April 2001.

      “One of the important developments of music since the 1970s has been the rediscovery of simple repetition… The Australian Virtuosi’s programme on Saturday explored a series of pieces in this style – you might call it post-minimalist, since the rhythmic complexity of these works is far from minimal, as was evident from the two premieres of the evening.

The first was Matthew Hindson’s Moments of Plastic Jubilation for piano solo (Michael Kieran Harvey), on of the expanding group of recent Australian pieces drawing their titles from the words of bad reviews (I hasten to add that your present correspondent has never been immortalised in this way). In this case, Hindson was inspired to a particularly graphic representation of a view once put in this newspaper that techno music grinding its heel on the old idea of music as a nobly, expressive humane activity.

After a few token bars of humane activity, Hindson’s heel-grinding became at times a slightly predictable thrash. There was more here, however, than the simple relishing of bad manners, and despite its excess, effectively realised by Harvey, I didn’t find the style gratuitous. As in many modernist pieces, subjectivity can be effectively expressed by its absence.Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2001.

      “Thank God for the critic whose complaint about an orchestral piece by young Australian composer Matthew Hindson goaded him into writing

Moments of Plastic Jubilation 1

      , a pastiche of musical snippets creating brilliant flashes of music, with an inspired contemporaneity that Kieran Harvey brought off with a fiery blast of playing. This is the exciting stuff great musical moments are made of.” –

Patricia Kelly, The Courier-Mail, 26 July 2001.

      “My next musical outing an up-to-the-minute recital by Michael Kieran Harvey and Bernadette Harvey-Balkus at the Opera House Studio showed how much Australia has changed since Darcy’s time. The oldest work on their program was an over-long two-piano Suite by Rachmaninov; the rest was skating-on-extremely-thin-ice post-modernism.

… the techno-junk of Matthew Hindson’s solo, Moments Of Plastic Jubilation (all plastic, little jubilation), added nothing to its composer’s reputation … We have to hear this stuff to be reminded of what substantial and significant piano repertoire really is. ” John Carmody, Sun-Herald – Metro, 8 April 2001.

CD Recording Available?

      Not yet. However, a live recording of the piece is available through the

Australian Music Centre library


Other Information

An analysis of this piece with further background info in PDF format is available by clicking here.


Also available in a version entitled Plastic Jubilation, for piano and prerecorded part (12 minutes, 2 movements).


The opening of Moments of Plastic Jubilationis marked “Clayderman-esque”, in honour of the French pianist, Richard Clayderman. You can see videos of Richard Clayderman at the following:


or this one:

Clayderman’s style of pianism is certainly very distinctive and while it used to drive me crazy at school when the librarians played it day in, day out, while I was trying to study, it certainly isn’t his fault.

AK-47 (1994)

for piano and electronic bass drum (electronic bass drum may be omitted)

duration: 6 minutes

Faber Music publishing details


Programme Notes

      ‘Indeed, one may only ponder what Kalishnikov himself would make of that magnum opus of stertorous borborygms, Matthew Hindson’s


      , a piano solo composed in 1994 (with optional electronic bass drum). Whilst it is still rare that art works are named after implements of destruction, in this case the title seems eminently suitable. From the outset, there is no doubt as to the work’s intention – and hence it continues, including everything from intensely vicious and overbearing violence to what could only be the psychotically nostalgic pinings of a Bosnian (or possibly Serbian) freedom fighter, one day too long in the field… But like a Patriot missile gone wrong,


    does not in any way capture Kalishnikov’s original dream – no, only the the warped postures of those who find this invention a most suitable implement with which to enable their dreams and fantasies.’

From: “Masters and Mistresses Post-Modern: The Penetration Metaphor and New Life Post-Millenia”, by Jean-Luc Napoleon III, 1994.

CD Recording Available?

      This work has been recorded by Antony Gray on a disc entitled

Country Gardens

    , on the KNS Classical label.
      It has also been recorded by Simon Docking on a now-not-available disc entitled

Arc of Light

    , on the JADE label.

AK-47 can be found on YouTube in performances by Simon Docking and Ashley Hribar.


      “The brave new world of pianism was invaded with all guns blazing by a brilliant Simon Docking on Sunday before his imminent flight (as in fleeing as well as flying) to America to advance his career… my favourite among the five premieres he expounded was


      (1994) by Matthew Hindson, a piece (with optional electronic bass drum, an option accepted here) that sounds as if Khachaturian may have thought of it while primed with vodka and facing a Russian firing squad. This had wit.” –

Fred Blanks, The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August 1994.

Other Information