Luminous was one of the ‘Century Fanfares’ commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia from ten New Zealand composers in 1998. The composer writes: ‘When I was invited to write a fanfare for the new millennium I inevitably found myself considering the last one thousand years. For me, the single most striking feature of human history during the last millennium has been the increase in travel and the settling in foreign lands of smaller and smaller groups. In the distant past, an entire race of people would slowly traverse one continent. Today, an individual, in the space of a few days, is able to completely uproot from their homeland and settle in a country on the other side of the world. A friend of mine, Pan, moved to New Zealand from China. For her, the pressure to integrate two very different sets of beliefs proved ultimately overwhelming. This work is dedicated to her memory.’
Several of the melodic ideas in Other Echoes are based on New Zealand birdcalls: the first violin is the now extinct huia, the cor anglais is the endangered kokako (also the bassoons and clarinets). Piccolo, trumpet and horns also play native birdcalls The composer believes these specific calls lend themselves particularly well to instrumental or vocal imitation, and has done a similar thing in several works over the years including the Chaos of Delight series.
In his Second String Quartet Op.10, Schoenberg stepped outside the four corners of the quartet and created a sublime part for soprano. In the last movement she sings ‘I feel air from other planets’. Just as Schoenberg opened a door for classical music with his Second String Quartet, Jamaican dub started the sampling and scratching scene which grooved all the way to 90’s Bristol. Clive Randy Chin’s Easy Come Dub is a stripped down remix of The Wailers’ It Won’t Come Easy. In Only You from 1997, the Bristol-based band Portishead create an ambient space in which even the Inspector Clouseau theme finds a new identity. Compressing time and space, Secret Arnold finds room for all three – Schoenberg, Randy and Portishead.