For her new work, Valley of Lost Things, Kate Neal took her inspiration from memory, grey spaces and a trip to the moon.

In contemplating this new work for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, I wanted to set myself the task of being as free with musical syntax as possible. I wanted to use both consonance and dissonance freely, without being tied to any particular musical form or style. In this way, Valley of Lost Thingsdraws influence from various stylistic paradigms, including those of minimalism, folk, neoclassical, spectral, stochastic, tonal, polytonal and textural genres.

Kate Neal, composer Composer Kate Neal

In considering the works of Adams and Boulez, I was aware that these composers use polarised compositional languages to express musical ideas, and I contemplated the grey spaces between these languages. Is there a place where the love of both these forms can rest and reside within a singular expression? I didn’t set out to achieve this in Valley of Lost Things, but it was something I was thinking about.

Perhaps the title refers to a sense of finding new things in languages of old, or rummaging through memories to find...