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Sound lur and serpent, op.98 : for brass and percussion

by Andrew Schultz (2014)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 48.

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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 48.


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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 48.

Library shelf no. CD 2578 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (3 more)  

Work Overview

Sound lur and serpent is a short work that taps into the mythology and drama of brass and percussion and their use to signal, warn and celebrate. The work was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and their Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, David Robertson, for the orchestra's 2014 tour of China. Sound lur and serpent was composed during a period as an artist in residence at the Cité International des Arts, Paris, in April 2014.

Sound lur and serpent,
Strike drum and gong.
Fire breathes to swallow,
Flee, while flee you can.

In 2010 I came across the wonderful collection of ancient musical instruments in the Deutsches Museum in Munich which includes a Lur from the Bronze Age and some more recent Serpents. The Lur and Serpent are old brass instruments with extraordinary primal shapes drawing on the horns of great beasts and the curves of snakes. Whilst at the Museum I wrote the above short poem in my sketchbook and made a note, "Lur and Serpent - a good starting point for a fanfare."
A few months before that, in November 2009, the weather bureau had issued Australia's first Catastrophic bushfire danger rating. The ratings of High, Very High, Severe and Extreme were no longer enough to cope with the continual and terrifyingly increasing presence of summer bushfires in the world's driest inhabited continent. The two things - the presence of fire and the signalling power of brass and percussion - have merged in my mind to lead to this piece.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: 8 French horns in F, 2 trumpets in D, 3 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba, timpani (4 drums), percussion (4 players).

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Symphony Orchestra.. Commissioned for the orchestra's 2014 tour of China.

First performance: by Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson — 24 Jun 14. Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, China

Alternate parts for Trumpet in D are included in parts set.


Video: Sound lur and serpent, by Andrew Schultz
Perf Sydney Symphony Orchestra, cond. David Robertson © NCPA Music Channel
From SSO China tour 2014, performance from their concert in Peking at the National Centre for Performing Arts.


David Robertson on Andrew Schultz' Sound Lur and Serpent

In this video David Robertson talks about the world premiere of Andrew Schultz's Sound Lur and Serpent, and the other pieces Sydney Symphony will perform on the 2014 China Tour.

Sound lur and serpent (excerpt) by Andrew Schultz

For our China tour we commissioned a new work by Australian composer Andrew Schultz. In this video you will hear an excerpt of Sound Lur and Serpent, a fanfare for brass and percussion performed at Shandong Grand Theater in Jinan on 25 June 2014.

Performances of this work

22 Jul 2015: at SSO: Schultz & Russian Romantics (Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall). Featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko.

27 Jun 14: National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China. Featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson.

24 Jun 14: Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, China. Featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson.

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