2 (II=picc)-2-2 (II=bass clar)-2 / 4-3-3-1 / timps / 4 perc / harp / strings
Commissioned by the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra with backing from Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Southern Tablelands Arts on behalf of the NSW Government
First performance by the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Ford, Bowral Memorial Hall, Bowral, NSW, 30 November 2019
The Big Bang theory places the creation of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago, with our own planet formed 9.3 billion year later. My piece, Big Bang, lasts a mere seven minutes, but operates on a similar – and audible – principle.
The music expands to a point at which it can expand no farther, then explodes, after which it all starts again. There are two such moments in the piece, one at the beginning and one at the end.
I didn’t set out to compose a work about exploding universes, but I did want a very clear structure for the piece – one that players and audience alike would immediately grasp. Wondering what his might be, I turned on the television one evening and there were Julia Zemiro and Brian Cox talking about the Big Bang.
There was one other reason the title seemed apt. Around the time of the piece’s commission, Richard Gill died. Richard was a friend and, as a conductor, he performed my music more than once. At Victorian Opera, he commissioned Rembrandt’s Wife from me and Sue Smith, and conducted its premiere. He was also a fellow patron of the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra, which had commissioned the present piece, so I decided to dedicate it to his memory. Richard was such a vital force in music and the educational equivalent of a ‘Big Bang’ in many people’s lives. He launched dozens of careers and – perhaps more importantly – led tens of thousands of listeners to a deeper and more knowledgeable love of music.
Big Bang was commissioned by the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra with backing from Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devoted funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Southern Tablelands Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.