Dunsinane

Dunsinane is a short symphonic work commissioned by the Australian Youth Orchestra. It was premiered on 18 January 2014 at National Music Camp, under the baton of Alexandre Bloch. The work is scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets in B flat, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, side drum, tenor drum, bass drum, tam-tam, tubular bells, harp, and strings.

The work has three main sections. In the opening section, the strings rise against throbbing woodwinds, muted brass, and percussion. In the next section, open brass instruments emerge as a competing force, urged on by a pounding bass drum. The music comes to a roaring climax, followed by a long silence. In the final section, the strings return for a shadowy encore. They make a lonely ascent to their high register, and disappear.