Sound Lur and Serpent (2014)

“When he was asked to write an opening fanfare for the Sydney Symphony’s tour of China, which kicked off this week in Shanghai, Australian composer Andrew Schultz found inspiration in two places: a Munich museum and the dry, dangerous Australian bush.

It was in the museum, on a trip in 2010, that he happened upon a Bronze Age lur; a long, often curved, horn with no finger holes. It was once thought to be used to warn and conduct troops in war. It was in the bush, where he grew up the son of a Lutheran minister, that he discovered the constant, very Australian threat, of bushfires.

Written for brass and percussion, Schultz’s Sound Lur and Serpent is four virtuosic minutes of aggressive, swelling climaxes, that play on the notion of ancient warning and the familiar summer threat of ashen skies.” [Joel Meares, Catastrophic fanfare brings power of Australian bushfires to Shanghai, SMH, 24 June 2014] Read more.

“If Sydney Symphony Orchestra is Australia’s flagship orchestra, then composer Andrew Schultz can be seen as the spokesman for the country’s contemporary classical music. His music has been performed and recorded by leading musicians around the world. Beijing audiences are in for a treat to see the world premiere of his new work. Foreboding and enchanting, Andrew Schultz’s “Sound Lur and Serpent, Fanfare for Brass and Percussion, Opus 98″ sets the tone for the evening’s performance. Inspired by old brass instruments that resemble the horns of beasts and the shapes of serpents, the piece was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for their 2014 China tour, and its gives the Chinese audience a taste of New Australian Music.” [“Sydney Symphony sets sail for China,” China Central Television, 30 June 2014]

“This piece really blows the roof off of anything and will start the concert series with the real sense of the incredible dynamism and energy that is Australia.” [David Robertson, “2014 China tour program”, Sydney Symphony Orchestra YouTube Video]

“Eighteen brass players and another four or five percussionists arrayed along the back of the concert platform created a blazing raucous block of sound for Andrew Schultz’s fanfare, Sound Lur and Serpent, that was thrilling, attention grabbing and alarming.

As Schultz noted in the program, fanfares are used in mythology to signal and celebrate, but also to warn. Taking its inspiration from the Bronze Age brass instrument, the lur, and the tuba’s medieval ancestor the serpent, Schultz’s fanfare did all three.

The sense of warning in this case was prompted by the Australian weather bureau’s decision in 2010 to issue a “catastrophic” fire warning, “extreme” no longer sufficing to account for the growing risk. It is an arresting piece drawing on elemental sonorities to potent affect.” [Peter McCallum, “Russian Romantics: thrilling, intense and fiery with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra,” Sydney Morning Herald, 23 July 2015]

“This concert also marked the local premiere of Australian composer Andrew Schultz’s Sound Lur and Serpent, a short fanfare for brass and percussion first performed on the orchestra’s Chinese tour last year. Maintaining a well-blended sound, the orchestra’s brass and percussion ensemble realized Schultz’s evocative, imposing miniature with resounding power and penetrating clarity.” [Murray Black, “Vasily Petrenko reveals Rachmaninov,” The Australian, 24 July 2015]