During the 1970s John Rimmer produced a series of Compositions, for different instruments and electronic sounds. In Composition 4 the flute is accompanied by a gentle environment of string and percussive-like timbres. The flute writing contains a wide variety of expressive devices and overall bears an oriental influence, in particular that of the Japanese vertically blown shakuhachi.
This work for tenor saxophone has been described as a “beautiful and craftsman-like piece…” by Rod Biss, in the NZ Listener; as “growing particularly strikingly from the lilting opening motif and the lurching and drooling phrases which answer it;” by Richard Bolley in Music in NZ and as having “..a strong jazz flavour.” by Philip Brownlee, in Music in NZ.
Inspired by the vivid and colourful writing of Salman Rushdie’s East, West short stories, Dancing in the Snake Pit evokes an Eastern flavour with musical ideas based on a scale constructed like the ragas found in Indian music. Dancing in the Snake Pit depicts a snake-charmer, who begins his bold recitative and stirs to life the inhabitant of a deep pit. Slowly the snake awakens from his slumber, and starts to move to the gentle undulating rhythm. Little by little, as the snake-charmer weaves his spell, the snake begins to dance: hesitantly at first, but growing bolder and stronger until its rapid movements coincide with the charmer’s hypnotic and rhythmic dance. Suddenly a bell is heard softly in the distance. The snake grows weary of the dance; he crawls back into the darkness, and sleeps.