Gleaming brass and crackling strings open Lachlan Skipworth’s Fanfara, the latest in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Australian commissioning series 50 Fanfares. Sydney audiences might remember Skipworth’s music from his monumental Breath of Thunder , which the SSO premiered in 2018 under the baton of Gerard Salonga, and guest conductor Asher Fisch is certainly no stranger, having premiered Skipworth’s Hinterlandwith his own West Australian Symphony Orchestra that same year. But Fanfarais a very different beast. Absent are the Japanese influences and instruments so integral to Breath of Thunder, instead Skipworth’s blazing opening gives way to lyrical string writing – with a beautiful oboe solo from Shefali Pryor – and a more direct sound world that brings to mind both the sweeping majesty and pastoral cosiness of Howard Shore’s music for the Lord of the Ringsfilms. Written in celebration of the return of live, communal music-making, Fanfaraswings from lush textures to the sound of cascading solo harp, the triumphant finish full of hope for the future.

Asher Fisch Asher Fisch. Photo © Nik Babic

The sense of joyous fanfare continued...