This piece is affectionately known as ‘Bugs’ or ‘the Bug piece’ to me, and that is what it is about: the wonderful creepy crawlies native to New Zealand. Motivation for writing this piece came from two sources. As part of my residency with the Auckland Philharmonia in 2004, I was required to write a piece for a concert specifically at children and families. Naturally, it needed simple structures, lots of energy and a bit of fun.
The second motivation with regard to a specific programme was a love for all native New Zealand fauna, and not just beautiful birds. So much music has been written with bird song or in celebration of New Zealand’s landscape. But nothing to my knowledge had been written about the humble creatures which often inspire revulsion rather than awe. Despite their not so cuddly appearance, native insects and invertebrates are just as fascinating and unique to these islands of ours as any other endemic wildlife.
The first movement is Giant Weta. Often the most notorious for exciting disgust, these magnificent insects are quite amazing, but all to often fall prey to introduced mammals.
The second movement is titled Giant Snails. Native giant snails are enormous, and often live in kauri trees, or feed on giant earthworms on the forest floor.
The Nelson Cave Spider is a extremely unique creature. Like so many other creatures and plant life of New Zealand, it is a relic of ancient times and preserved by New Zealand’s isolation.
Finally, perhaps the most unusual of all is the Peripatus, sometimes known as the velvet worm, a blue centipede-like creature that crawls through undergrowth in search of prey.