What a weekend!!
The Australian Discovery Orchestra were incredible in their on-line streaming concert (29th May) and played my (very difficult) work - Made In Heaven - so well. Thank you Kevin Purcell and the ADO for all the hard work and wonderful musicianship!
then on to the premiere of Safe Haven by the Enso Quartet in Sydney On Monday 30th May - what a delightful group of people - Maureen, Ken, Melissa and Richard - and an amazing ensemble, so musical, so intuitive, so good technically, and they turned Safe Haven into a highly engaging and dramatic work. Their Beethoven and Ginastera were outstanding! The reviews of my piece have been excellent so far.
“Composer Brenton Broadstock’s new piece for string quartet, Safe Haven (2016), was composed in honour of a woman called Marianne. She came to Australia as a child, a refugee from the Hungarian revolution of 1956. At its world premiere performance on Monday night, Broadstock’s conjoined three-movement piece (depicting Escape, Through a Child’s Eyes and Safe Haven) proved to be another important addition to Australia’s already impressive string quartet repertoire. Broadstock threaded the melody of a Hungarian nursery song Boci Boci Tarka through the fabric of his well-proportioned, structurally assured piece. Virtually imperceptible in the densely swirling textures of the opening Escape, the song’s melodic shards gradually emerged in the other two movements, thereby mirroring Marianne’s flight to safety. The Enso String Quartet’s strong tempo and dynamic contrasts, shrewd tonal variety and tight-knit ensemble successfully realised Safe Haven’s wide expressive range and textural intricacy.” Murray Black, The Australian May 31
“The Broadstock started proceedings, a surprise birthday gift from a loving husband for Marianne, a woman whose parents brought her to Australia from Hungary. The work, Safe Haven, duly uses the Hungarian nursery song Boci Boci Tarka (a bit like Baa Baa Black Sheep, but about a kind of Eastern European cow) at various points to suggest a child’s journey from a place of danger to one of safety. It’s an accessible work in three sections employing an acerbic tonality and a wide range of string effects. As such, it provided the Ensōs with an ideal vehicle to display their boldness of attack, impeccable tone, immaculate blend and single-minded commitment to dramatic storytelling.
The first sections, full of slips and slides and scurrying strings, transported us instantly to the dangerous world of war-torn Europe. The more melodic second movement, which pulled back to look at things from a child’s-eye viewpoint, was sweet, but felt a trifle overlong – like Twinkle, Twinkle, Boci Boci can wear out its welcome. Fortunately, the radiant viola solo leading into the third part pulled us into the safety of a warm tonality and brought the work to a charming conclusion. Marianne should have been delighted.” Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine May 31
“Broadstock’s work was the most moving on the program — a 15-minute work in three sections depicting the journey of a girl, Marianne, who came to Australia to escape the Hungarian uprising. Central to the work is the simple Hungarian nursery rhyme Boci Boci Tarka, which was the real Marianne’s “security blanket” as she and her parents escaped the guns and tanks of Budapest to a safe haven in Sydney.” Steve Moffatt, Daily Telegraph May 31
“A new work by Brenton Broadstock, Safe Haven, had as its theme the refugee experience seen with the eyes of a child – a topic with obvious political connotations in the contemporary context. But the music was no strident piece of musical protest. Rather, it was a deeply felt expression of human experience that moved from anxiety to security across its three movements. It was beautifully played by the Enso Quartet.“ Stephen Whittington, Adelaide Advertiser June 20
“Opening the concert was a splendid new work, Safe Haven from Melbourne-based composer Brenton Broadstock. Yes, it was accessible on a first hearing, however there was enough material there to pique and keep one’s interest with the fascinating background story of a Hungarian refugee family making their way in Australia. A simple opening tune, based on the dedicatee’s childhood nickname and nursery song “Boci Boci Tarka” was met by harmonics in the key of C, a hint of the Aeolian mode and rude yet convincing accented interruptions. Continuous descending lines and very quick glissandi featured in some excellent ensemble work and the perpetual movement was unnerving yet on the edge of beauty. In the emotional second movement “Through a Child’s Eyes” we hear the tune in its purest form as barely reinterpreted melody. A sense of sliding and dripping harmonics all combined beautifully in the resonant space, and I think I heard one player singing at one point to haunting effect.” Josephine Vains, Classic Melbourne June 24
Two big events coming up soon....
The Enso Quartet premiering my new string quartet, Safe Haven, on their Music Viva Tour - Sydney, Monday May 30
The Australian Discovery Orchestra, directed by Kevin Purcell, premiering the revised version of my orchestral work,
Made In Heaven, on Sunday May 29.
Buy tickets for this ground-breaking on-line event!
I co-composed music with Peter Sullivan for the very enjoyable short film Escape Hatch – directed by David Willing in 2015
It has been very successful at festivals worldwide, including:
QFest St Louis, USA April 27, 2016 9pm
London Lesbian Film Festival, Canada April 15, 2016
BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival, UK March 19 11am, March 21 8.50pm, March 27, 2016
Athens International Film and Video Festival, USA April 5, 2016 9.15pm
Melbourne Queer Film Festival April 2, 2.15pm
Dyke Drama Film Festival, Perth
Coventry LGBTQ Film Festival, UK January 29 & 30 2016
CYBEC - MSO participants 2016 - February 2016
This year's Cybec Program participants - Sam Smith, Michael Bakrnčev, Sally Greenaway and Alex Turley....with Benjamin Northey (conductor), Chris Tonkin (mentor) and me...after a wonderful rehearsal with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Many thanks to Roger Riordan for supporting this program again!
ON THE PEDESTAL! This week (Nov 23-27, 2015) ABCFM has very generously named me as their ‘pedestal’ composer and are playing one or more of my works each day. Thank you! It is very rewarding to have one’s music recognised and appreciated.
New CD by Matthew van Emmerik, Homeland, includes my Concertino for Euphonium and Piano - fantastic performance! Read the REVIEW
With Stuart Greenbaum at the Screen Composers Guild Awards November 2015
What an honour to have TWO works selected in the 100 Years of Australian Music collection on ABCFM - Symphony #2 - Stars In A Dark Night in 1989 and I touched your glistening tears for 1998!
I am very pleased to compose the music for two film projects by film-maker David Willing: a short film, Escape Hatch, and a documentary, Walking with the Mursi. Both will premiered at the Treasury Theatre, Melbourne on Friday November 27.
NEW CD - Making Signs by Syzygy Ensemble. Contains my new ensemble work written for the ensemble and called Syzygy. Other composers on the CD: Gordon Kerry, Katy Abbott, Annie Hsieh and Brett Dean. Recording and production by Stephen Snelleman and Jim Atkins - wonderful work!
Available to buy from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/syzygyensemble
I am honoured to have been appointed as an APRA/AMCOS Ambassador in August.
Congratulations to the Canning City Brass and their conductor Richie Burton for winning the B Grade section of the WA State Band Championships. They played my commissioned work ‘The Call’ as their own choice work!
NEW CD - ‘Hush Live in Concert’ Collection 14 (Hush 014)
In The Sunshine
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra cond. Benjamin Northey
REVIEW - Resurrection (from Stations of the Cross) - Sydney Chamber Choir, director Paul Stanhope. Great Hall University of Sydney, Sunday March 29, 3pm
“The first part of the program finished with another modern piece, Brenton Broadstocks’s ‘The resurrection’. Again, it showed how effective and stimulating the combination of old and new, classical and modern, can be and it encapsulated nicely the Easter themes of despair and hope, redemption and renewal. It was a riveting performance with the recurring high soprano motif giving an almost unearthly experience, like rays of sound leading up to heaven. Magical!”
Sydney Arts Guide - Andreas Hartung - Tuesday March 31, 2015
Vale! Composer and pianist John McCabe dies aged 75
I was very saddened to hear of the death of British composer and pianist John McCabe. He had been to Australia many times and I had the great privilege of getting to know him. A truly delightful man, a wonderful composer and pianist - another great loss to the world of music! Read about his achievements here - http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31457464
I have the great pleasure of composing three new ANZAC themed works for this year’s Centennial in April:
1) a brass band work, The Call, for the Canning City Brass Band and its director Richie Burton; this will be premiered at the Anzac Day civic function in Canning, Western Australia.
2) an SATB choral work, The Soul of the Anzac, for the Australian Chamber Choir and its director Doug Lawrence; this will receive several performances in 2015 (see performances)
3) a 3 movement brass band work, In Flanders Field, for the Boroondara Brass Band and its director Danny van Bergen. This will be premiered in 2015 and has been recorded for release on CD.
I had the great privilege of work as Head Mentor for the 2014/15 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - Cybec Young Composers’ Program. This year the MSO performed four outstanding works by composers
Alice Humphries (WA),
John Pax (WA),
Alex Garsden (Vic), and
Harry Sdraulig (Vic).
The works by Alex and Harry will be performed in the MSO’s Metropolis Series in 2015
Vale Peter Sculthorpe
died Friday August 8, 2014 aged 85
I had the great privilege of being a student and assistant of Peter’s in 1980-81 in Sydney. He was insightful and directive but always allowing my personal voice. A very gentle man, urbane, modest, always supportive and, in my memory, never spoke ill of anyone.
His influence on me is immeasurable. His support and encouragement enabled me to begin my career as a composer and educator at the University of Melbourne; and I have tried to pass on to my students the same generosity he shared with me and to be the same kind of teacher and mentor that Peter was to me.
His contribution to Australian music is limitless and seminal - he is the ‘grand father’ of Australian contemporary music. Not only did he produce a large body of excellent music - Mangrove will always be my personal favourite! - that epitomizes Australian-ness, his students (and their students) are now many of the leading composers in Australia.
I will remember him most for his courageous political and social conscience and for his sincere desire to improve our society through his music. Peter, you have left the world a better place and you will be sorely missed.
NEVER TRULY LOST - composed for the Australian Chamber Orchestra and commissioned by Rob and Nancy Pallin
was selected on May 9, 2014 as a ‘recommended’ work, (from 50 entries from 27 national radio networks) at the International Rostrum of Composers held in Finland. Never Truly Lost was the ABCs entry to the Rostrum. This means it is “recommended for broadcasting and concert presentation after the Rostrum by the participating and other interested radio stations”.
POEM inspired by Never Truly Lost by Andy Goss
O Wonder – a reflection inspired by Never Truly Lost, by Brenton Broadstock
Standing on the edge,
O Wonder, O vertigo.
Fly shall I? Float?
Hollow boned, clear eyed, Wind wreathed wild.
Fall do I, rise do I,
On the turn of tide
Turn of time, to ebb, To flow, adrift, adream,
Cast all adream, O Wonder.
One of my early brass band marches Valiant written for the Melbourne Staff Band has been released in the UK on World Class Marches Volume IV by the Black Dyke Band.
VALE Gerald Gentry, conductor, died in Melbourne aged 86
(16 May, 1927 - 6 May, 2014)
Thank you for the music, the wonderful stories and your generous and enthusiastic promotion of Australian music!! You will be missed.
Please read about his life here:
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
It was most humbling to receive an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2014 Australia Day Honours for “significant service to music as a composer, educator and mentor”.
GUEST PRESENTER ABCFM
On Saturday Nov 30, 2013 I was a guest presenter (with Laila Engle) on ABCFM between 3-5pm as part of Australian Music Month
NEVER TRULY LOST - NEW WORK FOR AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
It was a very exciting 10 days (Nov 14-24) for me as the Australian Chamber Orchestra was on tour and performing my new work for solo violin and strings,
Never Truly Lost,
commissioned by Rob and Nancy Pallin.
Thank you Rob and Nancy for your daring and ingenuity in commissioning a new Australian work!
And thank you very much to the Australia Chamber Orchestra and their leader and solo violinist, Satu Vänskä - the performances were wonderful and the audience reaction was very favourable!
“The world premiere of Melbourne-born Brenton Broadstock’s Never Truly Lost began part two. A commission by Robert and Nancy Pallin to commemorate the life of Robert’s father, the famous bushwalker Paddy Pallin, this warmly attractive piece was reminiscent of Peter Sculthorpe in his out-of-doors vein with all the appeal of a Vaughn Williams rhapsody. Taking us on a musical walk in the bush, more meditative than dramatic, this rapturous work deserves a wider hearing in the future.”
By Clive Paget on Nov 20, 2013 Limelight The Classical Arts and Music Website
After interval came Broadstocks’ shimmering, haunting ‘Never truly lost’, commissioned by the family of the late Paddy Pallin, swirling and spiky with a pulsating cello. In the composer’s own words, this is, “a journey through an imaginary landscape and (an) imaginary bushwalk”. Vanska’s violin playing was sparse yet exquisite, the finale having the feel of the creation of stars, with a sonar pulse sound. At the end of this piece there was a stunned silence then tumultuous applause.
Lynne Lancaster on Nov 24, 2013 Sydney Arts Guide
Please support The Hush Music Foundation and its Pozible Campaign
SYZYGY final concert for 2013 - GO!
Dr Linda Kouvaras’ new book Loading the Silence: Australian Sound Art in the Post-Digital Age has been published - congratulations Linda!!
Please buy a copy - click here -> Ashgate Press
Brenton and Syzygy at recording session (of Celebration and My Feet Want To Dance) at Oaklands Studios - Saturday December 8, 2012
Laila Engle, BB, Jenny Khafagi, Julia Stoppa, Leigh Harrold, Fiona Sargeant, Blair Harris, Helen Ayres
(Photo by Peter Barlow)
The concert has happened - WOW!!!
What a wonderful evening - amazing performances by SYZYGY - thank you to everyone who made it happen!
It truly was a celebration.
It was recorded by ABCFM, so, hopefully will be broadcast in the near future.
BIRTHDAY CONCERT - Tomorrow night, 29th!!
INTERVIEW - 3MBSFM - Tuesday 27th November 8pm
with presenter Tony Thomas on his weekly program Contemporary Visions
Clear Flame Within
Beast From Air
I touched your glistening tears
Dark Side - Symphony #5
In November I was composition adjudicator for the Defence Force School of Music Band Officer Course.
I was an adjudicator at the Royal South Street Instrumental Competitions - Intermediate Concert Bands - in Ballarat, September 6
On July 7 I was given the great honour of Life Membership of the National Australia Brass, presented by their Patron - Adrienne, Lady Stewart, at a ceremony/concert at BMW Edge in Melbourne.
In 2012 I am Composer In Residence with the National Australia Brass.
Australian Chamber Choir - July 3, 2012 Reviewed by Clive O’Connell
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middle Park - July 1 Much of the music sung by the Australian Chamber Choir on Sunday afternoon could have graced an old-time funeral where the emphasis fell on grief and loss rather than today's life-celebration and thanksgiving. The program's most challenging music, a terse, but harmonically grinding Miserere extracted from Penderecki's St. Luke Passion, enjoyed a lucid reading from the 17-strong ensemble, who handled its pungent intervallic clashes with controlled vigour, the emotional aura of regret and sorrow coming across with singular success.
Director Douglas Lawrence later took his charges through one of their party pieces, the Allegri Miserere, with soprano Nina Wellington once again negotiating the famous ultra-exposed top Cs without a tremor; a stolidity of metre was the only drawback to an exemplary demonstration of dynamic balance and well maintained security of intonation. Some of Mendelssohn's Op.79 motets for double chorus relieved the prevailing tone of mourning with an ongoing lucidity from the body's soprano and alto lines, later displayed to even finer effect in a jaunty Regina coeli for female voices by Brahms. Still, Lawrence and his choir presented a wide complex of solemnities, from Morley's Out of the deep to ACC-member Stephen Hodgson's challenging Lamentations, the program's transit also taking in Brenton Broadstock's I Had a Dream of 2004: a moving tribute to that most personable and gifted of Melbourne composers, Michael Easton. In everything essayed during this centred if brief program, the singers, including an admirably forward phalanx of tenors, showed a compelling zeal and freshness in their work.
Not Too Near...Not Too Far for saxophone and piano just released on CD by Cala Records, London
performed by HD Duo - Michael Duke, saxophone and Michael Howie, piano.
VALE RAY BRADBURY
June 7, 2012 - It was very sad to hear the news today of the death of RAY BRADBURY. What an amazing author!
He has always been one of my favourite authors and I was very pleased and honoured to be able to adapt his novel, Fahrenheit 451, into an opera, with his kind permission.