Much of my work is a marriage (or balancing act) between the Western art music tradition and my own position in time and place. Along with many forms, I have had a love for sacred choral music from Mediaeval times through to the present, but in not being a Christian, I have felt a reluctance to set text in which I don’t fully believe.
In reading the work of spiritual author, Eckhart Tolle, I have discovered a new connection with biblical texts. Tolle quotes the line “Be still, and know that I am God” in his book A New Earth, as an example of a universal truth that is at the heart of all religions and belief systems. In this text “God” may be seen as the Christian God, an omnipresent spiritual dimension or the universe personified. This line, and the rest of the text, is from Psalm 46. In setting this text I have found an opening into the world of sacred choral music that aligns with my own beliefs.
Fanfare for Orchestra was commissioned as part of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence programme to open a special concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. This short work for large orchestra follows an A-B-A structure with the archetypal brass fanfare is framed by the “bustling crowd” analogy of the other orchestral sections with much jazz-like syncopation.
This poem, by Australian poet Judith Wright (1915-2000) is a simple image of dogs chasing a hare in the light of the full moon. The hare is imagined as jumping into the moon, while the dogs can only howl at the moon in frustration.
Judith Wright spent much of her life involved in campaigning for Aboriginal rights and fighting against environmental destruction.
Full Moon Rhyme was written for Leading Notes choir from Westlake Girls High School (conductor: Fiona Wilson).