“I enjoyed playing the first performance of ‘An Irksome Vengeance’ with Yvette. The piece explores quite complex rhythmic patterns at a high level of expertise, calling to mind jazzy and folk-type drive with well-executed lyrical connections. The audience seemed to relate warmly to the work, so I think it is well deserving of future airings." – Katherine Hebley, cellist, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and 175 East
This piece was largely informed by my involvement in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Remix the Orchestra courses, during which fascinating syntheses of classical and hip-hop musics are created.
I have an all-encompassing view of music and have never shied away from influences outside the ‘classical’ genre: in this short work can also be heard a fleeting post-grunge-informed bassline and maybe, even, a slight tinge of progressive rock.
It recently occurred to me that many of us have a rap song from our formative years to which we know, if not ALL the words, at least most (often entirely despite ourselves!). Upon rediscovering Monie Love’s It’s a Shame (chorus originally recorded by the Spinners and written by Stevie Wonder), the phrase ‘an irksome vengeance’ jumped out at me from the lyrics.
Upon catching up with a former mentor prior to the composition of this work, I was reminded of the concept of a ‘groove-based’ piece, and to this end I have tried not to let the basic pulse abate for too long at a time, so as to create as much continuity as possible.
Angst: an acute but non-specific sense of anxiety or remorse (Collins Concise Dictionary). This is not intended to be an easy-listening, carefree piece. I wanted to portray a deep-seated sense of angst, creating a feeling of uneasiness in the listener. The flute and cello bear a similar angst, at times dealing with this independently, yet always returning to share in their anxiety. Quarter-tone inflections disconcert the harmonies, with tremolo, flutter-tongue and a recurring minor ninth adding to the tension. The material gradually unravels, only to fold in on itself again, remaining unresolved.
This version of Atthis is an adaption by the composer for Flute and Harp from the original song for Mezzo-Soprano and Guitar. The text of the Mezzo-Soprano and Guitar version was based on the poem To Atthis by Sappho (c.630 BC).
This version of Atthis is an adaption by the composer for Viola and Guitar from the original song for Mezzo-Soprano and Guitar. The text of the Mezzo-Soprano and Guitar version was based on the poem To Atthis by Sappho (c.630 BC).
Before the Stars Begin To Shine is written for solo violoncello and timpani. The work is a comment on the period of time between the often picturesque part of the day when the sun sets and the stars begin to shine. In southern regions of New Zealand this part of the day is called twilight and is defined as the time between sunset and darkness. Twilight can also mean the period of time when life begins to draw to a close. When twilight is referred to in the context of a day it may have a joyous meaning, but when associated with the penultimate stage of a life cycle it can bring sorrow. This work was written in memory of a dear friend who was drowned on January 2nd, 1994.
Broken Glass portrays a dialogue between two opposing natures about the passing of beauty as represented by the two instruments of guitar and violin. It is a meditation on how two people create the ending within themselves for their mutual story, and collaborate through both tension and surrender to bring that ending to life.