Category Archives: Instrument and Piano

Two works performed at 2010 Edinburgh Festival

This year, I have two works being performed at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival.

The first is “Energy”, the first movement from my recent ballet for the Birmingham Royal Ballet e=mc2, which will be performed by the Sydney Symphony conducted by Maesto Vladimir Ashkenazy. This concert is on 2 Sept.

Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy

The second piece is “Little Chrissietina’s Magic Fantasy”, performed by the amazing violin/piano duo, Duo Sol. This concert is on 3 Sept.

Lament (1996/2002)

for cello and piano
also for cello (or bassoon) and orchestra
also for viola and piano

duration: 8-10 minutes

Promethean Editions version for cello and piano, including score preview.
Faber Music publishing details of version for cello (or bassoon) and orchestra.
Faber Music publishing details of version for viola and piano.


Version for cello and orchestra

Programme Notes

Lament was written not long after the memorial service for the victims of the Port Arthur massacre of May 1996. It is not so much a direct response to this event in particular, but rather an attempt to capture the feeling of immense sadness that was present at this, and indeed every other, funeral service.

The cello part has been ‘set’ to the text of The Lord is my Shepherd, a religious text that was used at the memorial service for the Port Arthur victims.

notes by Matthew Hindson.


…It bore many resemblances to young Australian composer Matthew Hindson’s Lament for cello and piano, a memorial to the victims of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. Both opened gradually from poignant themes which soon were punctuated by wilder, more anguished stabs, finally returning to the quiet calm with which they began.

After Liebermann’s theme from his opera The Picture of Dorian Gray was announced, Isserlis moved into the central lyrical section, an outpouring of full-bodied resonance from his Stradivarius. The program notes stated Hindson chose The Lord is My Shepherd for his motto, but it sounded more like a medieval Kyrie chant, beautifully shaped by the players at every manifestation. – Patricia Kelly, Courier Mail, 9 May 2002.

This year, Musica Viva’s featured composer is Matthew Hindson, best known for his fusions of serious and popular, minimalist and techno. On this night, we were given his Lament, a short piece written in the shadow of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre: as the composer himself has pointed out, certainly a change of pace.

…Hindson’s simply constructed elegy was juxtaposed with the massive Rachmaninov G minor Sonata, given a reading of great power and passion…

Hindson’s short piece moves a little to the left of Peter Sculthorpe’s Requiem for cello and, like that work, finds it hard to avoid reminiscences of Bloch’s Schelomo.

Like the Liebermann sonata, the Australian composer’s Lament uses a recurring motive, but employs the device with less self-regard and an attractive, touching naivete of utterance. – Clive O’Connell, The Age, 15 May 2002.

CD Recording Available?

The cello and orchestra version is available on ABC Classics, or streaming through Spotify as per the above link.

Other Information

This work featured in the dance work Ellipse, choreographed by Graeme Murphy for the Sydney Dance Company.

In Search of Ecstasy (1995)

for alto saxophone and piano

also available for tenor saxophone and piano

duration: 7 minutes

Faber Music publishing details

Audio Recording – James Nightingale (sax), Kerry Yong (piano)

Programme Notes

In Search of Ecstasy was written in 1996 at the request of a young saxophonist who wanted a piece that was not phenomenally difficult for the instrument, and yet was still effective and which fitted into the everyday conception of what the instrument can do.

The term ‘Ecstasy’ in the title has two meanings. There is a sense of meditative contemplation, perhaps on a mountain top, that can bring an ecstatic sense of peace and tranquillity. On the other hand, ecstasy implies over-the-top joy, and this is also included in this piece.

Large parts of In Search of Ecstasy are influenced by popular music, in particular the aspects of the techno genre. It has proven to be an immensely popular work for young saxophonists, being regularly performed as part of Year 12 Music Examinations in NSW.

notes by Matthew Hindson.

CD Recording Available?

A recording of this piece was available on the CD/CD-ROM “DRIVE”, which was available from the Australian Music Centre. It is now sold out, but I hope to upload the recording to Spotify soon.

Other Information
The score of this work is available through Promethean Editions (NZ).

Night Pieces (1998)

for oboe and piano

Also available in a version for soprano saxophone and piano

Also available in a version for clarinet and piano

Duration: 7 minutes

Faber Music publishing details

Audio Excerpt

Programme Notes

The two Night Pieces were written as contrasting movements.

The first movement, “Night Song” contains a lyrical quality, and in particular, there is a sense of nostalgic poignancy that is intended.

As the title suggests, the second movement, “Night Dance” is inspired by dance music, in particular some forms of middle-eastern music. It uses quarter-tones as a decorative device: these being the notes found ‘in between’ the notes of the piano.

notes by Matthew Hindson.

CD Recording Available?

      • Available on the

    Tall Poppies disc, Bright Vessel, performed by Stephen Robinson and Elyane Laussade

Other Information

Nintendo Music (2005)

for clarinet in A and piano
duration: 7 minutes

Faber Music published score details, including online score preview.

Programme Notes

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a revolutionary video game system that took the world by storm in the 1980s and early 1990s. One of its main features was its use of music: in particular, its design limitations with three monophonic synthesizers and one ‘noise’ chip embedded within the machine itself lead to a very distinctive style of music that is instantly recognizable even today by video game afficionados.

Nintendo Music takes as its starting point some of these musical styles and features and translates them across to a work for clarinet and piano. In addition, this piece uses the structure of video games themselves to create the structure of the music. A popular game format used on the NES was the platform game, in which the player’s character moves about a variety of scenarios, jumping from object to object, avoiding enemies and typically fighting a ‘boss’ at the end of each level. (Super Mario Brothers and MegaMan are examples of platform games).

Nintendo Music uses aspects of music distinctive to each stage of playing such a platform game. The opening, for example, evokes the startup screen after the machine is turned on, the process of selecting a level, and starting the initial level. Sometimes the player dies, but eventually, by the penultimate section (after the clarinet cadenza), the player defeats the end boss, finishing the game.

notes by Matthew Hindson.

CD Recording Available?

This piece is available on the disc entitled “North South East West”, by Belgian clarinettist, Marcel Luxen. See the Spotify link above.

Other Information

An excellent journal article has been written on this piece, published in Context, by Jessica Crowe.

Title of the journal article