Requiem for a city (2015)

for wind symphony (picc.2.2.ca.Ebcl.3.bcl.cbcl.2.cbsn.ssax.asax.tsax.bsax – 4.6.2.btrb.2 euph.2 – organ/synth – timp – perc(4) glsp/mar/mcas/clave/susp.cym/vib/BD/2 wdbl/2 c.bell/tamb/xyl/tam-t/log drum/hi-hat/cabasa/SD/crash cym – harp – string bass – synth bass)

duration: 16 minutes

Faber Music publishing details


Audio Excerpt – complete first movement from the premiere performance


Programme Notes

Paul Mac writes:

Music is about freedom. All good cultural movements occur on the fringes where ratbaggery, a sense of mischief, and new vistas of visions are found and formed into newly created genres. Techno is most definitely an example of this. It is always forward looking, where new sounds, rhythms, atmospheres and ideas are continually being discovered in some kind of international dialogue from the African-Amercian straight and gay club lands of Detroit, and Chicago, the technical / conceptual response from Germany, the continual invention of new instruments from Japan (such as the Roland TR-808,909 and 303 etc) and the cultural revolution of illegal parties in warehouses and fields and the ultimate crossover of this music going Top 40 in the UK. It’s always been an exciting adventure for me.

In 2014, I was fortunate enough to receive a Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts. This allowed me the time to work on a wider range of compositional projects than I can normally achieve whilst still eating at the same time. One of these goals was to embark on a classical collaboration with Matthew Hindson. We both have a love of Techno, and whatever it is that you define as “Classical”. I bring the synthesisers and chords, and Matthew brings the orchestration and an over-arching compositional technique that was a master class for me. It was a weekly buzz for both of us to meet up and see where we could go, applying Techno tropes to a Wind Band.
Requiem For A City is my statement against the Lock Out Laws and the cultural squeeze that is currently occurring in Sydney because of them.
After The Imperial Hotel was closed down recently, I felt so sad for the current state of Techno culture in Sydney. I lost my job/income, as did all of the bar staff and Drag/ Performance artistsTry to explain the current nanny state laws to a visitor from Berlin. Eg, you have to be there by 1.30, you can’t walk up a staircase with a drink (even if it’s in plastic), you can’t drink and smoke at the same time, smoke four metres away from the entrance (but not after 1.30am or you are ejected from the venue), you can’t eat and smoke at the same time. No whisky on its own: it has to be diluted with a mixer etc. If you want to meet your friends at that other party later- forget it.
I’m fully aware of drunken violence, and the sad events that led to the introduction of these, some would say, draconian laws,and I don’t smoke so I love having smoke free areas, but it came as a revelation one morning as I was riding my bike up Oxford St. in Sydney, that late night mainstay Olympic Yeeros had closed. This was the cultural equivalent of the gas cylinder at the BBQ becoming empty, and there is absolutely no chance of a refill!!!!.
It’s OVER!!!!!!!

Anyway, Requiem For A City is my humble prayer to a very First World Problem. But, any music culture is important, and should be respected and nurtured. I was trying to capture the joy, melancholy and triumph of the situation.
Forever forward!

Matthew Hindson writes:

I have long been a fan of Paul Mac’s work as a composer, DJ and electronic music artist.  I have also long been a fan of electronic dance music, dating right back to “Ride on Time” in 1989.

The opportunity to collaborate with one of Australia’s foremost DJs was an opportunity too good to miss, and particularly to write for the centenary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (which has undergone its own renaissance in recent years, embracing popular music as a valid form of musical expression.)

My last piece of electronic dance music was written in January 1990, and so it was fascinating to work with Paul on this piece in a truly collaborative way 25 years later, in 2015. Paul’s sense of harmonic progression and rhythmic layering is extremely musical.  I helped with the large-scale sense of structure and direction.  We decided on the orchestration along the way, then I entered it all into notation format and added various subtleties along the way.

This is a unique work in many respects.  Apparently there is nothing else like it in the wind symphony world. It’s testament to Paul Mac’s skill and intuition that we chose to write for this most incredible of ensembles, the wind symphony, and great that we managed to create something new and different in the process.

Programme notes by Paul Mac and Matthew Hindson. First performance: 7 Oct 2015, Australia, Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music Wind Symphony cond. John Lynch.


CD Recording Available?

Not yet. The first movement of this piece was recorded by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Wind Symphony for future release.


Other information