Program notes

Falling Man/Dancing Man for organ and orchestra, opus 68 (2005)

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXvPS3yLC5w1. Infinity Jinx
  2. 2. Deep Crossing
  3. 3. The Laughing Man

Falling Man/Dancing Man is a concerto-style work for solo pipe organ and orchestra composed for first performance on the organ of the Melbourne Town Hall in 2005 with Calvin Bowman as soloist. The twenty minute work is in three separate but related movements.

Falling Man/Dancing Man was initially inspired by two photos with contrasting depictions of human reactions to war. The first was the abject image of a Falling Man taken from the ground below the World Trade Centre attacks in New York in 2001. The image was later suppressed and remains a deeply contradictory photo given the choices and pain implicit in the subject’s decision to jump. The second shows a Dancing Man who is celebrating in a Sydney street at the end of World War Two. His hat is in the air as he dances for joy at the end of war. The more I looked into it the more I became aware that images and artwork depicting falling and dancing bodies are almost universal icons from rock art to the present. Perhaps this is because they depict fundamental truths about human experience. Whilst echoes of both these and other images have found their way into the piece, the musical matters took their own course in the work and in the end the organist’s dancing feet and physical elevation in the organ loft also seemed apt for the title.

Falling Man/Dancing Man was commissioned by Symphony Australia for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Oleg Caetani) and composed with the assistance of a residency at the Leighton Studios, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada.

© Andrew Schultz, 2005


‘Trauma Classical,’ – read an interview with the composer in the journal, Stress Points.