Commissioned in 2000 by the NZTrio, A Feather of Blue takes its title from a phrase in a poem called A View From A Window by New Zealand writer Kevin Ireland. I have always admired the wry humour and brightness of Kevin Ireland’s writing and many years ago set three of his poems for soprano and mixed ensemble. As a kind gesture Mr Ireland sent me a copy of his book of poems Skinning A Fish, and I was particularly struck by the imagery of colours, flowers, feathers and birds in this poem, which illustrates rain pouring down a window pane and giving way to a burst of sunshine after a storm.
I heard Alanis Morrissette’s song Hand in My Pocket when I visited Canada in 1996. I’m intrigued by songs that we remember in spite of ourselves. When Alanis sings I’m short but I’m healthy, I’m high but I’m grounded I think of Greg Oh biking to NYC. I do hope that everything’s going be fine, fine, fine.