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.