'…the work contrasts episodes of visceral urgency with moments of hushed expectancy before concluding with a lyrical epilogue of great poignancy.' Gramophone (Christian Hoskins)


solo violin - strings (min 32221)


Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

The Australian aboriginal word Maralinga may sound quite beautiful to people outside of Australia, but to Australians its connotations are much more sinister. In the early 1950s, the nuclear arms race was underway amongst the major nations of the world. Great Britain wanted to test its recently acquired nuclear weapons, and Australia in the 1950s was a place that still regarded Britain as ‘home’ (particularly the Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies). Consequently secret nuclear testing was conducted in the South Australian desert, at Maralinga and Emu Creek between 1953-1963. Tests included some very nasty experiments with kilograms of plutonium which subsequently contaminated the test site. Unfortunately, according to a subsequent Royal Commission into the tests, it seems that the welfare of the aboriginal inhabitants and the Australian service personnel at the test sites was never taken into account. Australian military personnel were used as unwitting guinea pigs into the effects of radiation from these experiments. Maralinga was officially cleaned up by the year 2000, but the site and its history remains a stain upon Australia’s historical record. This piece makes reference to the long Aboriginal history at Maralinga as well as more recent events and attitudes. This version of Maralinga was arranged by Matthew Hindson and Tristan Coelho. M.H.


'Matthew Hindson's Maralinga, completed in 2011, references the environmental and human impact of the nuclear tests carried out by the British government in the composer's native Australia in the 1950s and 60s. Scored for violin and orchestra, the work contrasts episodes of visceral urgency with moments of hushed expectancy before concluding with a lyrical epilogue of great poignancy.'
Gramophone (Christian Hoskins), January 2021
'Hindson’s work considers this shameful, horrific period in Australia’s past, contextualising it within the long Aboriginal history of the area by way of stark but organic contrasts: sparse strained lines, shimmering glissandi, lush lyricism, sensitively performed…'
Limelight Magazine (Lisa MacKinney), 2 February 2021
'It is followed by Australian composer Matthew Hindson's 2009/2011 work Maralinga for violin and string orchestra. It was commissioned in 2011 by the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The title is an Australian Aboriginal word, but in this context it refers to a place. One of the Australian desert locations where in the 1950s the Australian government allowed the British government to do secret nuclear testing,  without considering the welfare of the Aboriginal inhabitants and Australian service personnel at the test sites.
Hindson's work is intense and dramatic, with the solo violin often to the fore particularly in a series of rhapsodic passages. But it is not a showy, bravura piece and soloist Amalia Hall really brings out the strong textures of Hindson's writing, digging in deeply. There is also some brilliant string writing, and the work gradually develops a strong rhythmic impulse leading to an exciting climax. But the solo violin's tendency to the rhapsodic, to slow things down prevails and the whole dies at the end. I am unclear whether there is a direct narrative here, but Hindson has created a remarkably intense and stimulating work…
This disc forms a fine showcase for a lively young ensemble and is particularly notable for the three contemporary works on the disc, all by composers who were new to me. The programme notes, largely by Julian Azkoul, introduce each of the works. The mixed programming is evidently typical of the group, they describe their approach as one of promoting new music and re-contextualising familiar repertoire. So, if you are interested in brilliant string playing, a terrific sense of ensemble and vibrant character then this is certainly the disc for you.'
Planet Hugill (Robert Hugill), December 2020

Maralinga (violin & string orchestra)

Deutsches Theater (Göttingen, Niedersachsen, Germany)

Göttingen Symphony Orchestra/Tassilo Probst/Nicolo Umberto Foron

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