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Pastoral symphony : for chamber orchestra

by Brett Dean (2000)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by HK Gruber, Swedish Chamber Orchestra from the CD Pastoral symphony ; The Siduri dances ; Water music ; Carlo

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Pastoral symphony ; The Siduri dances ; Water music ; Carlo


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Pastoral symphony ; The Siduri dances ; Water music ; Carlo / Brett Dean

Library shelf no. CD 2031 [Available for loan]

Pastoral symphony


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Pastoral symphony : for chamber orchestra / Brett Dean.

Library shelf no. Q 784.3184/DEA 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Beethoven's famous Pastoral Symphony from 1808 is just one of countless works, both large and small, found throughout the entire Western canon in which composers have celebrated the beauty and drama of nature. One need only start a short list (Schubert's Trout, Mendelssohn's Hebrides, Smetana's Moldau, Strauss's Blue Danube, Saint-Sean's Carnival, to name but a few) to realise the apparent abundance and diversity of classical music's odes to nature. And in our own time, Olivier Messiaen has done arguably more than any other composer to draw our attention to the greatest songsters on the planet, namely birds.

Having recently moved back to Australia after over 15 years in Germany, I'm acutely aware of the incredible source of joy and beauty, not to mention the resource of invention, that is to be found just by opening the windows and listening. Definitely no surprises on my part to read of Messiaen's utter fascination with the Antipodes and to find kookaburras and magpies popping up plentifully in his scores.

But in wishing to celebrate this wonderful abundance of treasures in the present day, I for one find it increasingly difficult to separate my love of the sounds of the natural world from an immense and growing sense of loss. Consider our relentless and respectless rampaging through the world's forests and wilderness areas, all in the name of more shopping, freeways, carparks and convenience. These issues are sadly a part of daily life in Australia. Sure, we all "love" nature, but what we love more are all the trappings of modern living...certainly more than the desire to stop and bask in the glory of a single butcherbird, perhaps the most magical sound found on the whole Australian continent. This piece, then, is about glorious birdsong, the threat that it faces, the loss, and the soulless noise that we're left with when they're all gone.

© Brett Dean, 2000

Work Details

Year: 2000

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 trumpets, 2 horns, trombone, tuba, percussion (2 players), piano, strings (, CD, sampler.

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned for Ensemble Modern.. Commissioned by the City of Frankfurt am Main for the Ensemble Modern

First performance: by Stefan Asbury, Ensemble Modern — 9 Feb 01. Maison de Radio France, Paris

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2001 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize Highly Commended Brett Dean


Article: Concerto makes vivid addition to viola repertoire
by William Dart
Source: Source: The New Zealand Herald, 18 April 2007


Performances of this work

2 Jun 2017: at TSO: Beethoven’s Pastoral & Brett Dean (Federation Concert Hall, Hobart). Featuring Johannes Debus, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

13 Mar 2016: at Sydney Symphony Orchestra at Carriageworks (Carriageworks). Featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson.

21 Nov 14.

20 Nov 2014: at Brett Dean in Residence (Royal College of Music, London).

23 Oct 2014: at Insomnia (Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall). Featuring Nicholas Collon, Aurora Orchestra.

16 Apr 2014: at A Pastoral Symphony (Grainger Studio). Featuring Jessica Cottis, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

24 Mar 14: featuring ANAM Orchestra of the Academy, Brett Dean.

7 Mar 2014: at The Lark Ascending (Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM)). Featuring ANAM Orchestra of the Academy, Brett Dean.

10 Jul 2011: at Aurora Orchestra (Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke's).

2005: featuring Australian Chamber Orchestra.

19 May 01: Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany. Featuring Ensemble Modern, Stefan Asbury.

9 Feb 01: Maison de Radio France, Paris. Featuring Ensemble Modern, Stefan Asbury.

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