“I enjoyed performing and recording Eulogy very much. Such a warmth of texture and harmonies which created a sympathetic palette for Olivia Macassey’s word painting” – Kenneth Young
My decision to set this text for orchestra initially arose, not only from reading the poem and appreciating it for what it is, but also from the recent passing of a dear musician colleague with whom I had collaborated on many early jazz projects.
However, at time of writing, I have become most un-nerved by the senseless loss of young life that has been occurring with alarming regularity at a couple of schools I have recently taught at. It was with these tremendously sad, sudden passings in mind that I completed my work on the piano short score of Eulogy, before commencing work on its orchestration.
Mahuika for organ and orchestra was, like several of my pieces, given a title in its infancy. In the way that a child grows into her name over time, Mahuika has developed a particular character during the process of writing. The work is not programmatic, but the origins of its name have come to influence the work: Mahuika, a Maori fire goddess, is awakened into her full terrifying extreme, utilising the full range and capacity of both the Auckland Town Hall organ and the Auckland Philharmonia. Mahuika evokes the sense of a young teenage goddess full of ideas and vitality but without the opportunity to yet develop and explore them fully.
The work has the potential to mature into a full-scale organ symphony of around 30-40 minutes: if anyone is in a position to fund her to grow further please contact me to discuss.