Australian composer James Ledger

Simpler Times
30 mins
3(II=picc,III=picc+aflt).3(III=corA).3(III=bcl) I=vib/; II=xyl/lgeBD/; III=toy.pno/3Tom-t/3susp,cym-pft-strings

Premiere: 4,5 September 2015
Perth Concert Hall
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Asher Fisch, conductor


As we get older, we all experience the perceived speeding up of time. The often heard phrases “time flies” and “where does the time go?” are just two common expressions that attest to this. Simpler Times, is an attempt to mirror the exponential passing of time as it speeds up incrementally over the course of the work. There are seven sections: the tempo of each section relates to the previous section by a simple ratio. For example, the tempo relationship between the first two sections is 7:8. In other words, the first section is 7/8’s the tempo of the second section, which is quite a subtle shift. On the arrival of the final seventh section, the tempo relationship between it and the sixth section is 2:3, which is one and a half times faster: a radical jump. Simpler Times is scored for orchestra that includes piano and toy piano. I really enjoy the unpredictability and jangly sound-world of the latter, it acts as a perfect foil to its grown up cousin. Although Simpler Times alludes to the nostalgic, my intent was not to convey a pining for the good old days. However, in that regard, the title can have a double meaning and it is because of this ambiguity that I chose it. I am extremely grateful to Geoff Stearn who commissioned this work and also a violin concerto in 2013. The title of that work was Golden Years (notice the recurring theme here?).

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