Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony – the London premiere of the work – was an expansive soundscape combining live orchestra and recorded sound effects. This immersive three dimensional work was an intriguing listen, made more thought provoking by his programme note:
“Sure, we all ‘love’ nature, ut 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.”
Dean is a consistently reliable composer, delivering interesting, fun and entertaining works, and on this particular afternoon succeeded in captivating a great many children in the audience. Loud driving rhythms contrasted with moments of stark beauty in a vast expanse interspersed with sounds of nature from a far-away land.
Not for the first time Dean’s music has really entertained me. This work, unlike his Electric Prelude and Vexations and Devotions, wasn’t listened to whilst eating a hard boiled egg salad.