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Dispersal : for orchestra

by Brett Dean (2001)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

From the CD Works for orchestra [or] large ensemble

Works for orchestra [or] large ensemble


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Works for orchestra [or] large ensemble / Brett Dean.

Library shelf no. CD 1177 [Available for loan]



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Dispersal : for orchestra / Brett Dean.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/DEA 5 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The verb "disperse" in its many and varied meanings serves as the starting point for this piece. It can range in meaning from scattering widely in different directions to the more passive leavetaking to go in different ways, or even more specific scientific terms, such as distributing small particles in a medium (chemistry) or dividing white light into its coloured constituents (physics). "Dispersal", in colonial Australian parlance, was a widely used euphemism for the pursuit and mass slaughter of Aborigines.

The quotation at the end is from Charles Hubert Parry's tune "Intercessor", which usually accompanies the hymn O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother by the American abolitionist poet, John Greenleaf Whittier.

Dispersal was co-commissioned by the Adelaide Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras for the ASO's Federation Fanfare Project in the 2001 Concert Season and for the BBC Symphony's tour of Australia in May 2002.

Work Details

Year: 2001

Instrumentation: 3 flutes (all doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd doubling cor anglais), 3 clarinets in B flat (2nd and 3rd doubling bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd doubling contra-bassoon), 4 horns in F, piccolo trumpet in D, 3 trumpets in B flat (3rd doubling bass trumpet in E flat), 3 trombones (1st doubling bass trumpet if not played by 3rd trumpet), tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players), harp, piano, strings.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra.

First performance: by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller — 9 Nov 01. Festival Theatre, Adelaide


Performances of this work

13 Oct 2013: at ACO (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring The Consort of Melbourne, ANAM Orchestra of the Academy, Australian Chamber Orchestra.

11 Oct 2013: at ACO (Palais Theatre). Featuring The Consort of Melbourne, Australian Chamber Orchestra, ANAM Orchestra of the Academy.

9 Nov 01: Festival Theatre, Adelaide. Featuring Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller.

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