Sinfoni Melayu

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Sinfoni Melayu (or Sinfoni Malaya) is mentioned in the reference work 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 and Music[2] Burgess himself wrote:

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 in 1999 Paul Phillips called "Sinfoni Malaya for orchestra and brass band” Burgess's second symphony, following Symphony No. 1, composed in 1935).[4]

The score of the symphony appears to have been lost, [5] and there is no evidence that it was ever performed, so the only source for its existence is Burgess’s own testimony.


  1. ^ Contemporary Composers, ed. Brian Morton and Pamela Collins, Chicago and London: St. James Press, 1992 - ISBN 1-55862-085-0
  2. ^ Anthony Burgess, This Man And Music, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982 - ISBN 0-07-008964-7
  3. ^ quoted in Crinson, Mark (2003). Modern Architecture and the End of Empire. Ashgate Publishing. 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 Archived April 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.