In Memoriam (Amplified Cello Concerto) 2000

for amplified cello with effects, and orchestra (picc.1.2(II=ca).1.bcl.1.cbsn – 4231 – timp – perc(5): 5 BD – harp – pno(=cel) – strings)

duration: 30 minutes

Faber Music publishing details

Audio Excerpts

Listen to the entire recording on ABC Classic FM’s Classic AMP
Excerpt from cello cadenza, first movement

Excerpt from Lament, first movement

Excerpt from opening section of second movement, “Celebration”

Programme Notes

1. Lament
2. Celebration

This work was written as part of my composer attachment to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The fifth and final work I was required to compose for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Composer Attachment was a
concerto with the stipulation that the work should lie outside the composer’s
usual idiom.

The piece I wrote was a concerto for amplified cello and orchestra entitled In Memoriam. It comprises two movements, “Lament” and “Celebration”. The choice of writing a work for cello came from the soloist, Nathan Waks, principal cellist with the SSO. As I recall, Waks expressed his enthusiasm for a work that was “amplified with lots of wacky effects pedals”.

When writing this work, I considered the immensely expressive qualities of the cello. It was therefore important to choose a subject that was of deep emotional significance for me. In Memoriam is dedicated to two of my cousins, Hargret Davis and Robert Hopkins, both of whom died suddenly when they were about my age. In the piece, I aimed to express all the emotions I experienced as a result of their deaths. These include anger, shock, disbelief, desolation and acceptance. In order to provide contrast and relief, the second movement
embraced the idea of celebration, and of remembering the joyful times I had shared with my cousins.

The first movement, “Lament”, is constructed into a number of defined sections. The opening of the work has an angry, almost raging feeling, as typified by the opening gesture of the soloist. After a brief cello cadenza, references are made to aboriginal musical tropes, meant as a reference to the aboriginal heritage of my cousin Robert. After a mournful cor anglais solo, an extended lyrical sub-movement follows, capturing a funeral, sombre mood.

The second movement is entitled “Celebration”, and was written as a tribute to life itself – its highs, lows, and good times. In contrast to the first movement, “Celebration” is not especially pictorial or programmatic in content, but rather, uses aspects of popular music forms. It is a joyous, extroverted movement.

The approximate duration of In Memoriam is 30 minutes.

notes by Matthew Hindson


The world premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra: In Memoriam… cast in two movements, Lament and Celebration, was an imaginative and vividly energetic work and one of the best large-scale scores of Hindson’s that I have heard to date… Hindson’s music at the moment seems to be testing extremes of expression and, dare one say it, of taste – a hard thing to do since it is so easy to overdo.

      Sleeveless and tattooed, cellist Nathan Waks was in his element in this piece, relishing the play-anything-frantically textures and grasping the energy and conception with a virtuoso’s sense of theatre. One couldn’t imagine a better advocate. I was encouraged by Hindson’s compositional development in this piece.” –

Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald – Timeout, 9 April, 2001.

      By far the longest work on the agenda was the world premiere of

In Memoriam

      – a consistently interesting, intermittently impressive, and occasionally astonishing piece that bespoke a depth and maturity in the work of this young composer that I had not experienced before…

In Memoriam was overflowing with ideas and well equipped with surprises. Much of it was very loud – too loud for many an ageing ear such as those which proliferate in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s flagship adult series – but there was no doubt it spoke meaningfully to the much more versatile ears of the twilight Meet the Music audience, with its eclectic mix of young blades and adventurous oldies… Not only did the Hindson draw far and away the most enthusiastic applause of any work on the night’s agenda, but its response eclipsed by a long road that afforded to any other world premiere I have ever attended… it was an achievement of significant enough size to turn many composers of the younger generation green with envy. – David Gyger, Opera-Opera, May 2001, Page 281.9

      The world premiere of Matthew Hindson’s

Concerto For Amplified Cello And Orchestra

      , subtitled

In Memoriam

      , was a prime instance of how an enfant terrible (born 1968) can turn music into sensationalism by inventing or inciting effects, from quasi-hysterical to vapid, demanding attention for a deliberate shocker lasting 34 unrelenting minutes. –

Fred Blanks, The North Shore Times, 18 April 2001.

CD Recording Available?

    Not yet.

Other Information

The “Lament” section of the first movement featured in the Sydney Dance Company’s performance of Ellipse, choreographed by Graeme Murphy.

      Part of the first movement of this piece is a re-orchestration of


      , for cello and piano, which is available from

Promethean Editions


In Memoriam

      was a finalist in the

Australian Music Centre


Australian Performing Right Association

    2002 Orchestral Work of the Year.

2 thoughts on “In Memoriam (Amplified Cello Concerto) 2000”

  1. Hello Matthew,
    Heard the ABC FM broadcast last night.
    It was splendid!
    ABC website gives no clue that this mucic was put to air.
    I tracked you down, but many will not – you should tell them.
    I know there’s no CD yet, but am happy to buy .WAV files.
    Please contact me.
    Best Regards

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