Art and literature - NZ
New Zealand composers enjoy a close relationship with their literary compatriots and a substantial portion of New Zealand music using singers or narrators sets the texts of New Zealand authors. Douglas Lilburn made a feature of this. Popular New Zealand poets to set in the twentieth century included Allen Curnow, Denis Glover, James K Baxter, Alistair
Campbell and Hone Tuwhare. Popular non-New Zealand poets in the mid twentieth century included Blake and Shakespeare, with operas by David Farquhar (Enchanted Island, based on The Tempest_) and Ross Harris (_King Lear). In recent years the choice is wide-ranging, as can be seen, for instance, in the choral compositions of David Hamilton, Dorothy Buchanan or Eve de Castro Robinson.
A not insubstantial number of New Zealand compositions draw inspiration from other works of art, either in the form of a response to the viewing of a work (such as a painting or sculpture), for example Anthony Ritchie’s Hanging Bulb or Christopher Blake’s Anthem on the Kaipara, or in the writing of incidental music to accompany a work (such as a play, dance or art exhibition), and, often, the subsequent reshaping of that music into a stand alone composition.
Some compositions are works of visual art in their own right, designed as much for display as for performance such as Lyell Cresswell’s Eye Music and Nose Music of the late 1970s. Similarly, other compositions around this time were designed as much for their theatrical or sculptural impact as for their musical content. Such works were variously called music theatre or sonic art.