Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio and Pierre Boulez have long been in my group of compositional heroes. Not that I have always understood or accepted what they were doing but rather because they opened new vistas of compositional processes.
Stockhausen in particular offered composers new ideas about the way music is structured. His ‘moment’ forms made a deep impression and his early electronic music pieces Gesang der Jünglinge and Kontakte blazed new pathways. They are classics in the music of the twentieth century.
Adieu KS for solo vioklin is my musical way of offering a deep sense of gratitude to Karlheinz Stockhausen. This short hommage nods in the directly of Stockhausen’s early Sonatina for violin and piano and utilises a sequence of pitches from this work. Fragments contrast with continuity, melody with violinistic sounds and movement with stasis.
This short work for treble-voice choir and guitar sets a poem by Australian poet Kylie Johnson. Kylie is a visual artist as well as a published poet. Her website www.paperboatpress.com says:
During her study of Visual Arts and Film at QUT in Brisbane (1990-1993) Kylie met a group of artists and potters and became part of the group known as Amfora. Amfora held many group shows throughout its 12-year run, of which Kylie was a part of all.
It was through these years that Kylie also published three books of her poetry: Distant Shoes (1992), forty-eight minus one (1997) and the ivory birds (2000), the poetry book launches also coincided with solo exhibitions of her painting and collage work. In 1996 Kylie set up her business paper boat press, in its early stages creating a boutique greeting card range featuring her own whimsical one or two line poems. This has now grown to include ceramic ornaments, ceramic jewelry, original illustrations and functional ceramic vessels.
In recent years Kylie has joined forces with a group of Brisbane artists to form the Umbrella Collective. The six women work together towards group shows and sales of their work as well as creating a dialogue and support network for all aspects of their work and creative business.
Count Me the Stars sets a text taken from her most recent poetry collection of the same name. The poem is untitled, so I used the first line as a title for my setting.
This piece was written at short notice in response to request for “…something lively, rhythmic and easy to learn”, for the Aurora Festival held in Christchurch at Easter 2006. The festival organisers, having searched for something appropriate by a New Zealand composer, invited me to write something suitable to fit the occasion.
Festival Gloria sets the opening lines of Gloria section of the Latin Mass. Throughout, the work is dominated by a ten-in-bar time signature, with an insistent and rhythmic piano accompaniment. The music is strongly tonal and ends emphatically where it began: in B flat major!
Festival Gloria subsequently became the starting point for my Missa semplice written later in 2006, and this SSA version of the movement was made in early 2007.