Composer: Elena Kats-Chernin

Conductor: Brett Kelly with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra

World Premiere 26 June 2022 // Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne



This work was inspired by Tolstoy’s short story that retells the tale of the Good Samaritan, in which a fallen angel is befriended by a shoemaker who rescues him from homelessness and destitution. The Angel stays with him for six years until he finds the answers to three questions which allow him to be an angel again. He then grows back his wings enabling him to return to heaven.

In the first movement, in the midst of a bitter winter, the shoemaker encounters a poor man during a freezing blizzard. Realising he will not survive in the snow, he brings the fallen angel home, sharing last breadcrumbs with his unexpected guest. In the second movement, a waltz, the shoemaker and the fallen angel begin to work together, falling into a productive dance-like working rhythm. In the third and final movement, the Angel comes to find the answers to the three significant questions. He comes to realise that at at the core of human existence is love, especially love for others. It is the love within us that is our Inner angel.

The harp is featured throughout the work to represent the presence of the angel. The piece was written for the young musicians of the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. I focussed making the orchestration as varied as possible to make the piece rewarding for all the players. And their inspiring conductor Brett Kelly with whom I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate on many a project.

Thank you to Gandel Foundation for supporting us to commission Inner Angels.