Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Alban Gerhardt, cello; Steven Osborne, piano
This work is in three movements and was commissioned by the BBC for the German cellist Alban Gerhardt and the English pianist Stephen Osborne. The title refers to the Huntington Estate winery in Australia, home of the annual Huntington Music Festival with which I’ve been happily associated since 1997.
The first two movements relate to the natural features and beauty of the Mudgee region of New South Wales where Huntington is located. The opening movement, Nightsky, is characterised by a spacious, dark sense of mystery and awe, the cello outlining various harmonic motives against a sparse background of sounds drawn from inside the piano. The second movement, Swarming, is a reflection upon a specific occasion related to me where a swarm of bees bestowed an altogether more dramatic and foreboding quality upon the calm reflection of watching a summer sunrise. The final Elegy (for Jason) is a simple offering, something of innocence and consolation, written in memory of Jason Brodie (17.9.1980 – 17.6. 2001), a young assistant cellarmaster at Huntington who, despite his failing health, retained an inspiring love of nature and an endlessly positive, ambitious and courageous spirit.
© Brett Dean, 2001
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer