‘Beginnings’ was commissioned by Auckland Philharmonia. It was inspired by the birth of Ritchie’s son Tristan. It depicts the slowly mounting tension of the labour, through to the birth itself. There is a gradual growth in the music from small, delicate gestures into wild and pulsating ones towards the end. The child is represented by a ‘little Tristan waltz’ which eventually gets caught up in the musical frenzy. The waltz sequence imposes order on the music, which tends to be fragmentary and changeable. There are some echoes of Bartok and Debussy in this early work, and it presents a good challenge for a professional orchestra.
G.B. (Geof Burridge) a cousin of mine – the only member of my family who had any idea of what my music was about – who was my ‘whanau’ during the writing of Waituhi – he was headmaster of Tokoroa High and set up the first multicultural marae in a New Zealand school. He died suddenly in his early 40s in 1985. Oh! and the notes G and B do play a part in the piece. It was written for bassonist Michael Burns who was a student at VUW at the time.
The film, In Sympathy, is based on a piece especially written for Mary Robbie, and was made to be a document of the inter-media work. The film presents Mary playing three trumpets in an unconventional fashion together with two duck-callers. The work sets out a soundscape of aural gestures, that enable the image and sounds to adopt a persona, and with which (whom) the performer interacts.