Taiwanese/Australian virtuoso Ray Chen has launched a commission by Matthew Hindson, as part of Chen's Musica Viva Australia national tour with pianist Julien Quentin. The Violin Sonata No 1 - ‘Dark Matter’ lasts 16 minutes and is cast in two movements. It received 9 performances between 9 and 27 August:
‘As Chen’s international recording career on major labels demonstrates, he focuses on the classics, but for this tour he plays his first commissioned piece, from Australian composer Matthew Hindson. And what a moving thing it is. Written as Hindson’s father was in the advanced stages of a terminal illness, Dark Matter begins with an endless tune of an elegy that will surely become a stand-alone radio-friendly classic, likely to bring some to the verge of tears.
The second movement then disrupts the sense of resignation, a do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night howl of rage, confusion and occasional lucidity that’s an uncomfortable listen, but in a good way, for this is music on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the sense of impending loss palpable.’
The Australia (Martin Buzzacott), 14 August 2018
‘While Grieg’s Second Violin Sonata offered a great deal of novelty on its own, the second act would bring a further revelation in the form of Australian composer Matthew Hindson’s Dark Matter, commissioned for the concert series by Musica Viva and its patrons. Hindson lost his father at the end stages of the composition process, and the piece opens with a genuinely heartbreaking eulogy, a slow movement bursting with the kind of emotive lyricism at which Chen excels. The second half of the piece draws upon the other meaning of ‘dark matter’ – that is, the invisible, unobservable matter that makes up most of our universe – and reaches astronomical heights. Indeed, the composer admits he sought to exploit the virtuosity of both performers in this exciting fast movement. It is a truly impressive work that deserves to be heard again, and its explosive finale could have finished the evening convincingly.’
Limelight Magazine (Ben Wilkie), 17 August 2018