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Contemporary Australian composers have the opportunity to learn from and be influenced by a wealth of musical styles that have passed before them. Matthew Hindson's Rush, for guitar and string quartet, is one such piece that, while containing a mixture of these musical characteristics, in turn displays its own style unique to the composer. Although it may not be apparent upon its first hearing, Hindson has used as a starting point for Rush the music of Felix Mendelssohn. The fast and technically challenging passages found in the final movement of the Mendelssohn String Octet influenced Hindson's decision to compose a work for the Goldner String Quartet that is highly virtuosic in nature. The composer remarks, "it is much more the spirit of Mendelssohn's string writing that was influential, particularly the last movements of his string quartets and the String Octet, rather than any sort of harmony or melodic invention." In addition to the influence of Mendelssohn, Matthew Hindson has also found inspiration in the popular music idiom. Popular and, in particular, 'techno' music and culture have played a large role in the development of Hindson's musical style (with his other works displaying such titles as Speed and Homage to Metallica), and Rush is no exception. The playful, up-beat and repetitive rhythms found in popular music are a prominent feature of this work. The fast and mostly accelerating tempo of Rush reinforces both the title of the piece and the influence of 'techno' music. Rush also features a series of catchy and vibrant melodies, making the work accessible to a wide audience. The playful nature of the music can also be considered as a reflection of the hedonistic nature of modern society, where a large emphasis is placed on the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment. Although Rush is scored for guitar and string quartet, it is regarded by Hindson as a guitar quintet, where the guitarist and the string quartet are treated not as soloists performing with accompaniment, but as integral and equally important entities in the work as a whole. The guitarist and the instruments comprising the quartet each have the opportunity to assume the playful motifs and feature as virtuosic soloists. Matthew Hindson is one of a number of younger composers who are attempting to establish and express their place within today's world. Hindson's now distinctive style incorporates, and is heavily based on, the music pervading contemporary popular culture. The composer, however, is not unwilling to accept the influences of more established art-music traditions, and adopts these where he feels necessary. Combined, these influences provide the listener with a fresh, accessible and culturally up-to-date musical experience. Matthew Hindson is an academic staff member at the University of Sydney. © Michelle Kennedy Please contact Michelle Kennedy for permission to use this.