Australian composer James Ledger

The Natural Order of Things
2017
15 mins
strings (5.5.3.3.1) - last player of 1st vln & last player of 2nd vln double Harmonicas in G

Premiere: 5 May 2017
Wollongong Town Hall
Australian Chamber Orchestra


PROGRAMME NOTE The Natural Order of Things came about through a commission for the Australian Chamber Orchestra by David and Sandy Libling. I first met them both in January 2015. David sought to commission a piece in celebration of his father, Simon. I asked David if he would write a little about his father just so I could form some ideas for the work. What I received was an account of his father’s truly astounding life. Simon lived in Poland and experienced a great many setbacks – “a story of vicissitudes” as David put it. A life that included time in and escaping from Plaszow concentration camp and having to learn to walk again after hiding in a wardrobe during the war. After the war, he and his wife Mary walked from Krakow to Prague (to exchange food for perfume) and then to Vienna (to exchange perfume for money). He was decorated by the Czechoslovakian State for saving tens of thousands of lives from starvation. The story of Simon’s life read like a film script. Perhaps the most memorable part for me was how Simon would take David for long walks virtually every Sunday throughout Simon’s boyhood. Here, “they talked of everything from anti-Semitism to the gold standard”. The thought of ‘passing the baton’ between father and son, down the generations, led to the title The Natural Order of Things. The work had an incredibly long gestation, and went through many different shapes and forms before settling on its final iteration which consists of five short movements – each having it’s own mood and characteristic:
1. Static and serene
2. With a sense of burden
3. Threatening and agitated
4. Ceremonial
5. Calm and resolute
The Natural Order of Things was commissioned by David and Sandy Libling in celebration of the life of Simon Libling for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. It was an honour for me to write this work


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