In Times of Change

for strings, piano and percussion x 2

Composed: 1st Aug – 13th Oct, 2007

Revision: September, 2018

ISMN: 979-0-720090-07-8

1:  Intro

2:  Andante

3:  Allegro

4:  Post Script - poco andante

Composed over 10 years ago as a commission for the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the ideas were good, and I developed it further in 2011.

It is strange, I realised whilst editing and revising this work from the distant perspective of Florence, that, over  the many years of touring and performing with, and programming for the Elektra String Quartet, that some of the most popular works of mine (for both the performers and audiences) were the ones that I initially wrote for "kids". Was this a psychological opening, or 'get out' card from the internalised pressure to write "serious', or 'adult' music.....  a detour around sterile head-banging, and permission to simply write for/from the heart! Go figure!?

Forword to the original version for kids

In the rapidly developing and evolving technological/digital/consumer cultural life worlds that we all, (but particularly the younger generations) find ourselves in, some requirements for music making, as far as I am concerned, don’t really change, (but then again, maybe I am simply becoming old, bitter and reactionary; hide bound with the outdated cultural baggage of ages past, etc….!!?) Anyway, as I was saying, (and have said elsewhere) … “rhythms, bowing patterns, physicality, counting and mathematics, communicative skills etc, all ultimately merge, one happy day, as ‘consciousness’ in, and as, the ‘well tempered string player’”.

To teach young kids to do so, however, (particularly the counting bit, let alone looking at the conductor) is another matter altogether! What greater challenge to humanity, and service to despairing string teachers, (and youth orchestra conductors) than to devise means by which to ‘encourage’ them to do so. With that in mind, here then is an offering which, in its recourse to basic principles, (and in a language that is in accord with the principles of an almost contemporary cultural hip-ness!) can serve, in some small measure, to learning to participate consciously in that great mystery of collective social meaning and action; -that is, music making, during a period of rapid cultural change; -or simply put, “In Times of Change”.

The interactive/creative process: After some initial discussions and meetings, I sketched out a piece based on some simple rhythmic ideas as well as finger exercises and then invited Nick (Tester) to my place to see what I had come up with. (22nd Aug, 07) It seemed to be within the range (albeit the outer limits) of the SYO beginner string group (the Speer Orchestra) he was directing at the time. Some sections we suspected may have been beyond them, but, the option of cutting them out was a very simple solution to keeping the work manageable.


I had thought hard and fast about the rhythmic pattern on which the allegro was based, and could have made it more ‘uniform’ –that is, a simpler repetitive pattern; but that meant they simply would have memorised it. So we decided to keep it a little more complex, necessitating the kids having to learn to really read and follow the music, rather than playing it prematurely (to whatever degree) ‘by ear’; -after all, the rehearsal/tutorial/learning process, over a whole term, was organised around the idea of extending their skills, as much as it was about creating something new and fun for them, and giving them a sense of what it means to work with a still (in some ways!) living composer.


Sat. 18th, August 07: “Check out the junior group (Speer). Have a ‘session’ –ask questions: “how does a group stay together/in time, etc… “Follow the conductor!!?” one of them cries… I make observations on their playing. I then ask, “What do I, as a composer, need from an orchestra?” We play around with col leg clicks, then slow glissandi; all useful and fun”

And in the end… I thank and acknowledge the people at the Sydney Youth Orchestras, and the Australasian Performing Rights Association for making my residency possible, which gave me the opportunity to give and share something of my experience and creative spirit with the young ones.

Romano Crivici

Marrickville, Sydney

31st January, 2010

Composed: 1st Aug – 13th Oct, 2007

Revision: September, 2018

Symphony No. 1 "As Night Follows Day"
Poco Adagio
Poco Allegro

Sydney Chamber Orchestra conducted by Romano Crivici. Commissioned by ABC Classic FM.

Recorded at the Eugene Goossens Hall, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Ultimo, Sydney, 8th December, 2000, for ABC Classic FM.

Produced by Ralph Lane, Sound Engineer -Allan MacLean.


Symphony No I has, since this recording, undergone a massive revision and development, but is still, in some senses what I would consider as being an ‘early’ work of mine. This version was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for broadcast on ABC Radio National in 2000