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The last days of Socrates : for bass-baritone, SATB chorus and orchestra

by Brett Dean and Graeme Ellis (2012)

last days of Socrates


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Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: 3 flutes (1st & 3rd doubling piccolo, 2nd doubling alto flute), 3 oboes (3rd doubling cor anglais),  4 clarinets (3rd also bass clarinet, 4th also doublebass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd also contra-bassoon), 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (5 players), harp, piano/celesta, (two different pianos are required: a concert grand piano and an upright piano which features a super sordino or practice pedal), electric guitar, accordion, classical accordion (RH button keyboard with free bass), 6 solo violins (to be taken from Violins I and II), strings.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: Part I. Prelude (Goddess Athena) -- Part II. Apology (The Trial) -- Part III. Phaedo (“The Hemlock Cup”).

Commission note: Commissioned by Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunkchor Berlin.. Commissioned by the Rundfunkchor-Berlin with its chief conductor Simon Halsey in partnership with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Sir Andrew Davis, Chief Conductor) and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

First performance: by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, John Tomlinson, Simon Rattle, Rundfunkchor Berlin — 25 Apr 13. Berliner Philharmonie

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2014 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Orchestral Finalist Brett Dean
2014 Art Music Awards: Performance of the Year Winner Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Simone Young, Peter Coleman-Wright soloist for performance at Simone Young conducts Mahler & Dean (Robert Blackwood Concert Hall) on 26 Jul 2013
2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize Highly Commended Brett Dean


Resonate article: Paul Lowin Prizes 2013 - finalists announced by Australian Music Centre

Resonate article: 2013 Lowin Prize winners: Elliott Gyger and Nigel Westlake by Australian Music Centre

Performances of this work

11 Oct 2018: at Sydney Symphony Orchestra: The Last Days of Socrates (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring Peter Coleman-Wright, Brett Dean, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

7 Oct 13: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA. Featuring John Tomlinson, Gustavo Dudamel, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale.

29 Jul 2013: at Simone Young conducts Mahler & Dean (Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne). Featuring Simone Young, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

27 Jul 2013: at Simone Young conducts Mahler & Dean (Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne). Featuring Simone Young, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

26 Jul 2013: at Simone Young conducts Mahler & Dean (Robert Blackwood Concert Hall). Featuring Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Simone Young.

25 Apr 13: Berliner Philharmonie. Featuring Rundfunkchor Berlin, Simon Rattle, John Tomlinson, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

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