For some time I have been trying to find ways to reduce and clarify what I do, preferring the
embarrassment of a transparent nakedness of idea to a superficial modernity. Better a single clean line than a messy and obscuring profusion. My aim has been to find a poverty of means that is elemental, broadly expressive and communicative. An ideal musical world for me is one in which to change a single note alters the balance and meaning of a piece.
The scoring of Endling is a mixture of browns and greys - intermingled and dappled blended
colours provided by restricting the orchestra to two horns, timpani and strings. The work falls into
three broad sections each built in different ways around an oscillating melodic figure of a fourth or a
fifth and seconds. Harmonically, the work falls and rises over thirds that cover a wide-ranging tonal
structural schema. Rhythmically, the work is in 3/2witLr its ambiguities of stillness and dance, light and dark.
Nature has defined the "endling" as the "last surviving individual of a species or plant." This piece
flows from a feeling of immense regret and sorrow about all that has been lost from the face of the
earth. Beautifully adapted plants, animals and societies that are no more and have been replaced by what? A world that seems at times to be full of ugliness, material obsession, perpetual and pointless change, and the hideous "marketing" of everything from a symphony to a child's smile. In the post-God world, even repudiation of the material has become another category fit for commercial
exploitation. There is only a stoic solitude - the resignation of the endlirg - and the pure core of
human experience to sustain meaning.
Endling was commissioned by Symphony Australia for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. The
first performance, was given by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arvo Volmer, at the Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, on 14 November 2007 and in the Princess The atre, Launceston on 16 November.