'…episodes of visceral urgency with moments of hushed expectancy before concluding with a lyrical epilogue of great poignancy.' Gramophone
Now out on BIS Records is the world premiere recording of Matthew Hindson's Maralinga for solo violin and string orchestra. The recording is part of the debut album "In Motion" by the United Strings of Europe, who are directed by Franck Fontcouberte, with New Zealand violinist Amalia Hall.
Maralinga was originally commissioned in a version for violin and piano by Wolf Trap Foundation for Canadian violinist Lara St John who had previously championed and recorded Hindson’s Violin Concerto No. 1. After the premiere at Wolf Trap in 2009, St John toured nationally with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2011 who commissioned this arrangement for violin and strings. St John later gave the Canadian premiere of this version in Toronto in 2013, and the US premiere in New York in 2017 at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park with Ensemble Le Poisson Rouge.
'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