Arapatiki was commissioned by Stephen De Pledge as one of a series of Landscape preludes, and received its first performance in the Wigmore Hall, London, in January, 2004. Arapatiki translates (from the Maori language) as ‘the way of the flounder’, and is the ancient name of the sand flats in front of my house at Harwood, near Dunedin. The piece has something to do with the advance and retreat of the tide across the flats, where many species of sea and water birds spend much of the day – an ever-varying water-scape. The opening idea is based on the song of the korimako or bellbird.
This series was written in 2008 from the perspective of a grandparent. The titles indicate the programmatic idea the composer had in mind. In performance, the composer intends all five Bagatelles to follow one another in sequence.
1. Tell Me a Story – Grandparents become skilled in this occupation. Let the music suggest its own story line.
2. Kokako Dreaming – others of its kind, a loss to future generations.
The North Island Kokako is on the endangered list: a secretive bird, most likely to be seen after dawn when it often perches to sing in the open. This piece does not mimic its song, but is rather a lament for its South Island counterpart now extinct, as are many other native New Zealand birds.
3. Irrepressible – Ragtime seems an appropriate style for this piece.
4. Look for the Rainbow – maybe a ploy to distract an unruly grandchild! A piece expressing Romanticism typical of this composer.
5. Runaway – Escape from said grandparent who regrets the inability to keep up with the young!