Matthew Dewey’s Symphony No.2 (ex Oceano)

Symphony No.2 Rudolfinum

Commissioned by Lynchpin, Matthew Dewey’s Symphony No.2 was composed for the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Recording premiere by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jan Kucera, in the Rudolfinum – Dvořák Hall, Prague, 24-27 September, 2013. (4 Movements) (3p,3ca,3bcl,3cn) (4,2,3,1) Timp, Harp, Celeste, 2P, Strings

Duration: 46’00” approx

Notable Recordings/Performances
Recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, please click here for details.

ex Oceano – we are from the ocean – the ocean sustains us from Nick Roden on Vimeo.

Composer Notes

The first movement sets the scene for the entire symphony, introducing the musical characters and the central themes – we hear the voice of the ocean, its mighty currents and sense the enormity of its scale and influence.

The second movement is characterized by a shimmering, active surface and a slower, calmer, deeper core expressing the movement and character of the vast biomass of phytoplankton blooms visible from outer space. These remarkable microscopic creatures underpin planetary metabolism, acting as carbon sinks, generating every second breath we take and much more besides.

The third movement is emotionally rather complex – it’s a love letter written as if to a loved one who we know we will lose, or perhaps, have already lost. It’s at once sad, longing, tender, sentimental and conflicted. It’s a description of that most precious and vulnerable concept of love. The love of anything that is most important to the self – it could be your partner, your children, your family…. it could be something or someone else. It is that which you cannot abide the thought of losing – such is the intensity.

This is the most important message of the symphony. We stand to lose what we cannot imagine being without. The cusp between beauty and loss; joy and fearful desolation. Simultaneously intense and spacious, personal and universal, immediate and timeless. Life and death.

The final movement is a large piece that gives voice to the passion and doubt that one might feel when thinking about the world changing in this manner. It is an attempt to pull together all of the emotion of the preceding movements together into one giant and a powerful expression of dismay – just as one might scream into a storm, there is a sense of horror and hopelessness.

But, this story is not over. Whilst the music points to what might be, it leaves space for a conclusion not yet reached – as the horror reaches its apex, the tumult of being brought to what we might term the living edge, there emerges an unexpected and uneasy calm.

This is the sound of what opportunity we have to make change.

There may not be much time, but we have to hope that there is still time.

Matthew Dewey
Sydney, January 2014.

Links to Related Articles

The Making of a Symphony – Visit the project home at the Lynchpin website.
Symphony of Science – An article in the Australian Antarctic Magazine, Issue 25: December 2013
Contemporary Symphony Adds New Depth to Ocean Science – An article in the University of Tasmania Research to Reality Magazine.