Symphony No.2 'Double Planet'
for chamber orchestra (2010)
1(picc).1(ca).1.1(cbsn), 0.1(fgl).2.0, harp, 3 perc,
duration: 17’
GRT • 150

video, mp3, interview and analysis available at

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
Symphony No.2 ‘Double Planet’
Preview #1 2’
Preview #2 1’
Double Planet 8’
Day and Night 4’

This symphony is concerned with miniaturisation, self-similarity and transformation. The shorter preview movements are ‘fast-forward’ representations of the two longer movements which themselves respond to pictures by the Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Escher whose work in general addresses these issues.

Double Planet (1949) shows two regular tetrahedrons intersecting as if they were one world. They are in fact two quite separate worlds: one a jungle with trees, mountains and dinosaurs, and the other a construction of palaces and bridges occupied by humans. It’s a strange, uneasy proposition that (over half a century later) might be interpreted as humans being out of touch with the natural environment – creating for themselves an ivory tower from which they can view the jungle at a safe distance.

Day and Night (1938) is also symmetrical in design. The flock of birds that fly over the rural city and farmlands magically transform in direction (backwards & forwards), colour (black & white) and time (day and night).

The work was commissioned by the
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is dedicated to my mother, Elizabeth Scarlett – herself a pianist and scholar with a PhD in Poulenc and a constant source of musical inspiration and heritage to me.

available soon on resources page