for orchestra (picc.2.2.ca.3.2.cbsn – 4331 – timp – perc(2) vib/xylo/glsp/drum kit/tgl/3 wdbl/5 tpl.bl/2 c.bell/water gong/ch.cym/tam-t/timbales/3 roto-toms or tom-t/2 bongos/BD – harp – strings)
duration: 6 minutes
Headbanger, commissioned by Symphony Australia, is a six-minute orchestral fanfare. The term “headbanger” usually describes an adherent of heavy metal music, and seems to come from the motion of severe head-shaking employed by audience members at heavy metal concerts.
It is unlikely that many of the audience members will be induced to bang their heads upon hearing this piece. However, they may be able to hear some musical gestures that could be associated with heavy metal or rock music – such as an often-‘heavy’ bassline based around a repeated drone note, many bass-drum figures, generally loud dynamic levels, and quite aggressive rhythmic motives. Headbanger is not at all entirely a piece of heavy metal popular music. It also displays a number of quieter sections, including a passage for three clarinets utilizing slow glissandos.
Headbanger is the latest instalment in a series of short orchestral works specifically written around particular objects of our time (the late twentieth/early twenty-first century). Other works include RPM, Boom-Box and Auto-Electric.
Programme notes by Matthew Hindson. First performance: 23.11.01, Australia, Adelaide Town Hall: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra/Kristjan Jarvi
CD Recording Available?
A recording of this piece has been made by The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for Trust CDs.
This work featured in Veitstanz: Shake Rattle and Roll, a ballet choreographed by Berndt Schindowski, performed by Ballet Schindowski in Gelsenkirchen, Germany (January – March 2004).