A baby lying is No. 4 of the ‘Five Carols for 3 and 4 Parts’, which were written so as to be performable in more than one choral combination, for example, for women’s voices only with an optional part for men. Along with No. 3, Deep in the forest, those two carols are the darker pair of the set. However the numbering is no indication of performance order, where the five carols are being sung together as a group. In this case the following order is suggested: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 4, 1.
A baby lying is No. 4 of The ‘Five Carols for 3 and 4 Parts’, which were written so as to be performable in more than one choral combination, for example, for women’s voices only with an optional part for men. Along with No. 3 Deep in the forest, those two carols are the darker pair of the set. However the numbering is no indication of performance order, where the five carols are being sung together as a group. In this case the following order is suggested: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 4, 1.
violin, cello, piano (some preparation required); all performers required to speak
Piano preparation: the strings between c’’’ and a’’’ need to have a flat metal object laid on top to achieve a bright, jangly ringing sonority (especially from mm 26-37). This/these to be removed by the pianist in the section from m 45.
The three strings F, G, A flat, should have firm rubber wedges between them to create a dull thuddy sonority (for the section at m42), but with a still discernible pitch
At water’s birth is a meditative, ritualistic work, whose sonic palette includes prepared piano sonorities and some vocalising from the players, including whispering, spoken words and whistling.
The pushing out of the boundaries of the conventional instrumental sounds is something I have employed in other works such as the whistling and knocking on the piano lid in small blue for piano and the bell and tamtam playing in Ring True. The meandering sections of the music suggest a relationship with the forces of water, its depth, currents and undercurrents and there is a sense of ritual in some of the chant-like rhythms.
Chaos of Delight IV continues my series of works inspired by NZ birdsong (Chaos of Delight I for bass clarinet, Chaos of Delight II for soprano, Chaos of Delight III for women’s voices) and in this case is a short, theatrical duo written especially for the talents of my colleagues Luca Manghi and Ben Hoadley. Some more recognizable birdcalls are: the thrush calls played by piccolo; the Paradise Duck in the bassoon; the Kokako played by both in unison and the Little Blue Penguin in the fluttertongued basson.
The work was premiered by the duo on October 22nd, 2008 in Auckland.
This work was a ‘top secret’ commission, premiered at a well-kept surprise birthday party for Bruce (earlier a pupil of, as well as later married for some years to, the composer).
Aidan Lang head of NBR NZOpera was MC for the evening, which was generously hosted by Jack Richards and attended by some seventy of Bruce’s friends, family and professional colleagues. The piece was received with acclaim (no critics invited!)
This is third McLeod song cycle to be set to poems by Janet Frame. It is also the most difficult, the vocal part receiving little support from the fairly independent piano accompaniment. (Note: it is largely beyond the scope of amateur performers, though certain gifted adult students may be able to cope with some of the songs.)
For the occasion a limited edition of five copies only of the score was printed (presented to Medlyn, Barnes, Richards, Greenfield & McLeod) with a specially designed cover by Roger Joyce, well-known designer and partner of Margaret Medlyn.
This work was commissioned by Dr. Guy Jansen who conducted the performance by Kapiti Chamber Choir in 2009 at St Pauls Anglican Church, Paraparaumu, with Peter Averi at the organ.
Guy specified I write a choral work (SATB) set in the style of Bach, pertaining to the Kapiti region. Shirley Murray kindly complied with requirements in supplying the words, to make it entirely the product of the Kapiti Coast.
Rain is an iconic poem by Hone Tuwhare, describing beautifully a feature of the weather but also subtly ruminating on death. The setting is quiet and lyrical, with an optional part for a rainmaker (to be played by the singer). This setting for baritone and piano was written for Matt Landreth, and recorded by him. The recording and score were auctioned to raise funds for the Otago Hospice appeal in May 2008. The song was subsequently scored for orchestra and recorded by Matt Landreth and the Auckland Philharmonia.