Sinfoni Melayu

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Sinfoni Melayu (or Sinfoni Malaya) is mentioned in Contemporary composers[1] as a symphony composed by Anthony Burgess in 1956, when he was a teacher at Malay College Kuala Kangsar. In his book This Man & Music[2] Burgess himself writes:

Sinfoni Melayu, a three movement symphony which tried to combine the musical elements of the country into a synthetic language which called on native drums and xylophones as well as instruments of the full Western orchestra. The last movement ended with a noble professional theme, rather Elgarian, representing independence. Then, over a drum roll and before the final chord in C major, the audience was to rise and shout "Merdeka!"[3]

In his Anthony Burgess Newsletter of 1999 Paul Phillips calls "Sinfoni Malaya for orchestra and brass band” Burgess' second symphony (after Symphony No. 1 of 1935).[4]

The musical score not having been delivered to posterity,[5] the only source that there ever was such a symphony seems to be Burgess’ own testimony.


  1. ^ Contemporary composers / editors: Brian Morton ; Pamela Collins. - Chicago; London: St. James Press, 1992 - ISBN 1-55862-085-0
  2. ^ Burgess, Anthony (1982), This Man And Music, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-008964-7
  3. ^ quoted in Crinson, Mark (2003). Modern Architecture and the End of Empire. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 228. ISBN 0-7546-3510-4.  page 161
  4. ^ Phillips, Paul (1999). "The Music of Anthony Burgess". Anthony Burgess Newsletter. The Anthony Burgess Centre, University of Angers. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Music 1954-59, International Anthony Burgess Foundation[dead link]