This chapter focuses on the symphonies of composers from the same generation as Carl Vine and Brenton Broadstock. All were trained initially in Australia and their important works began to appear during the 1980s. David Joseph’s one-movement Symphony for Organ and Strings (1990) is a complex and demanding work. He is one of several composers – Andrew Ford, Elena Kats-Chernin, Gordon Kerry, Nigel Sabin – covered in this chapter who have composed just one symphony. Elena Kats-Chernin’s choral symphony ‘Eluvium’ is the largest of these works in four movements.
John Polglase has produced seven large-scale symphonies in an extended tonal idiom using a traditional approach to the orchestra. These serious abstract works form a strong contrast to Mark Isaac’s two symphonies, which bring together memorable themes and tonal/modal functional harmony in an accessible musical language. Of Andrew Schultz’s three symphonies, the first In tempore Stellae is a choral symphony with a remarkable synthesis of text, chorus and orchestra. The second, in one movement, shows the influence of American minimalism but combined with the cumulative power of movement usually associated with Sibelius. Symphony No.3 (2013) is an epic three-movement work intended for civic celebration with an outdoor audience of 150,000 people.